Last Updated: 2019-05-05
How can you top a wild game that went to four overtimes and had a little bit of everything? I don’t know, but that’s what the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets will try to do on Sunday night. Portland is up 2-1 entering tonight’s game, and the Blazers are feeling good after a great performance from CJ McCollum. Nikola Jokic will be out to respond with another big performance to put Denver over the top.
Somehow Torrey Craig was able to take the court for the Nuggets on Friday night. Craig had his nose busted up in a bad way in Game 2, but he was on the court for 36 minutes in Game 3. That leaves Michael Porter Jr. as the only Denver player still on the injury report, but he has yet to play this season.
Mo Harkless played through an ankle sprain and managed a double-double in Game 3 for Portland. Harkless is expected to play in Game 4 too, and he is not on the injury report. Jusuf Nurkic suffered a season-ending injury in late March, and the big man that has replaced his production is questionable for tonight’s game. Enes Kanter finished with another double-double on Friday, but he aggravated his shoulder injury in the process and is a game-time decision.
Portland opened as a four-point favorite for tonight’s game, but we have seen an increasing amount of money come in on Denver over the last 24 hours. The Trail Blazers are now just a three-point favorite tonight, as many probably believe these teams are evenly matched after a quadruple overtime game. The total in this game has dropped from 211 to 210.5 points.
We are likely to see a lot of fatigue in tonight’s game. Nikola Jokic played a whopping 65 minutes on Friday night, and he probably won’t have the same movement that he did earlier in the series. That’s a problem for Denver as the offense runs through him. Jokic dished out 14 of the team’s 28 assists in Game 3, and you could tell that fatigue was affecting his normally impeccable decision making. Jokic turned the ball over eight times on Friday.
You have to wonder if Damian Lillard is starting to feel gassed too. Lillard is now averaging over 42 minutes per game in the playoffs after averaging 35.5 MPG in the regular season. It didn’t feel like he had it for most of Friday, but he was able to come through in the clutch and force another overtime after Denver took a four-point lead with 30 seconds left in the second overtime.
Bench play is going to play a big factor tonight, and I’m going to go with the Nuggets to win as slight underdogs because of their superior bench. Rodney Hood played well for the Blazers in Game 3, but he was the only bench player that performed well for Portland. Zach Collins, Seth Curry, and Evan Turner have not impressed, and that’s an issue.
Denver has multiple bench players that can take over for stretches. Will Barton is the most notable example for the scoring he brings off the bench, but Malik Beasley and Monte Morris can get the job done too.
With Kanter banged up again, that makes me like Denver’s chances even more. Kanter is the only big man on the team that can provide offense, and if he is dinged up again, Portland’s offense becomes more dependent on Lillard and McCollum.
<< Previous PostNext Post >>