Here’s another Gametime Blitz blog preview of one featured matchup on the app. The matchup this week will be between the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Game 1 of the Conference Semifinals will be played at the Pepsi Center, home of the Denver Nuggets. In the regular season, the Nuggets won 3 of the 4 matchups. In the Trail Blazers only win, the Nuggets were without Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Paul Millsap. This was C.J. McCullum’s 1st game back after missing 10 games due to injury but he had the help of Damian Lillard with 30 points. Both of these teams are looking to solidify themselves as perennial contenders in the Western Conference and should make for some great basketball games.
The Denver Nuggets entered the playoffs as the 2nd seed in the Western Conference behind the champion, Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets snuck out some wins against the Portland Trailblazers with all three of their wins having a combined 13 point margin of victory. In those three wins, Denver’s main star, Jokic, scored 15, 40, and 22 points. In 3 out of the 4 games between these two teams, the Denver Nuggets had more assists than the Trail Blazers for a total of 100 to 90. Denver also ranked 2nd in the league in assists. Remember this when answering questions regarding assists. The Nuggets were 1st in the league this year in 3 point defense which is great to consider in questions about 3 point shots. Denver should make this series close but I ultimately see them falling short to Portland and their strong play of late.
The Portland Trail Blazers secured the number 3 seed in the Western Conference for the second consecutive year. Fresh off of a dominant series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Trail Blazer look to carry this momentum into the second round against the Nuggets. Despite losing 3 of the 4 regular season games against the Nuggets, each game was close, including a 1 point loss. Portland is missing their starting center in Jusuf Nurkic but has been lucky that Enes Kanter has stepped in to fill that role with ease. Portland ranked 3rd in the league in total team rebounds. With questions about rebounds, take into consideration that Portland out rebounded Denver in all 4 regular season games for a total of 181 to 157. The Trail Blazers ranked 2nd in the league for their free throw percentage which could help with free throw questions.
Damian Lillard is showing that he is in playoff form. I see the Portland Trail Blazers continuing to have the hot hand in the Playoffs, especially in this matchup.
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Keep playing and good luck!