On Thursday night, the Denver Nuggets will take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 6 of their best-of-7 series. The Nuggets lead the series 3-2 and have put the pressure back on the Blazers, who need to protect their home court to force a Game 7. The Nuggets are the second seed in the Western Conference, while the Blazers are the third seed.
The Nuggets dominated Game 5 on Tuesday, winning 124-98. Nikola Jokic was the man once again. He scored 25 points on 10 of 18 shooting to go with a team-high 19 rebounds and six assists. Paul Millsap scored 24 points on 9 of 17 shooting to go with eight rebounds and two assists. Jamal Murray tallied 18 points to go with five rebounds and a team-high nine assists. Gary Harris chipped in 16 points and Will Barton and Malik Beasley each scored 10 off the bench.
The Portland superstar duo of Lillard and McCollum had an off night in this one. Damian Lillard scored 22 points on 9 of 21 shooting to go with six rebounds and a team-high four assists. He also shot an uncharacteristic 2 for 5 from the free throw line. CJ McCollum scored just 12 points on 5 of 16 shooting to go with four boards and three dimes. Rodney Hood and Zach Collins had solid games off the bench, as Hood scored 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting and grabbed four rebounds, and Collins scored 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting with three rebounds.
Nuggets Rely On Jokic
The Nuggets have been led by Nikola Jokic in points, rebounds, and assists this postseason, which is incredible to do as a center. He is averaging 24.5 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 9 assists in the playoffs and is shooting 38.3% from 3-point range. Jamal Murray is averaging 21.4 points a game to go with 3.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists.
Veteran Paul Millsap is scoring 14.8 a game and is bringing in 6.8 rebounds. Gary Harris is the only other Nugget averaging double figures with 14.1 points.
Blazers Need Dame Time
The Blazers are led by Damian Lillard, who is averaging 29.6 points per game this postseason to go with 4.4 rebounds and a team-high 5.9 assists and is shooting 37.8% from deep. CJ McCollum is pouring in 24 points a game and averages 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He is shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc.
Enes Kanter has filled in nicely since Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the year with a leg injury. He is averaging 13.7 points per game to go with 10 rebounds per contest, which leads the team. Al-Farouq Aminu has played well all around and is averaging 9.4 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.
Going The Distance
The Blazers come in at -4. Portland is in a do-or-die situation here. The home crowd will be fired up for this one and will play a huge factor. I think the duo of Lillard and McCollum are going to erupt in this one after having a tough Game 5.
Jokic will do his thing for the Nuggets and post a triple-double, but I don’t think it will be enough. Lillard will lead the Blazers to victory in front of the home crowd to force a Game 7. Take the Blazers -4.