Stadium: Ball Arena.
Match 2. The score of the series: 0-1.
In the first game at Ball Arena, Portland did very well. The Nuggets got -14 and found themselves in a difficult position - the second game has to be won by all means. Will Michael Malone’s team be able to solve their problems and go to Portland with a more or less acceptable 1-1? Let’s pick a few bets at once.
Denver shouldn’t blame injuries
The Nuggets not only can’t count on Jamal Murray, who was badly injured near the end of the regular season, but they’re also without Will Barton for now. Yes, these are crucial losses that weigh heavily on the team, but the playoffs have started. Denver are positioning themselves as a contender and shouldn’t attribute the setbacks to injuries. If you take the entire history of the NBA, and cancel out those results that have been impacted by injuries to leaders, what remains? Contenders are the ones who can overcome challenges.
Denver played poorly in the first game. It’s extremely difficult to defend against Lillard without Barton, but on offense... The Trail Blazers are not known for their strong defense, so the Nuggets should score more points. There are plenty of questions for Nikola Jokic. In Murray’s absence, how much of a leader can he be? No answer yet. The Serb had an excellent 34 points and 16 rebounds in game one, but just 1 assist. Are his excellent field vision and ability to assist his teammates still in the regular season? Yeah, well, injuries…
Portland’s got to be able to handle Denver with that kind of confidence
The Blazers were outplayed by Colorado in game one. Damian Lillard had 34 points and 13 assists, CJ McCollum had 21 points, Carmelo Anthony scored 18 and 4 of 8 from the three-point range. Special mention should go to Jusuf Nurkic. Not only was the centre efficient offensively with 16 points, 70% from the field and 5 assists, but he was also good against Nikola Jokic, who allowed only 1 assist compared to his season average of 8.3. Robert Covington played an equally important role on defense with a +21 assist and 1 blocked shot.
Portland has a balanced lineup. There is a true leader, much more experienced than the opponent, coach Terry Stotts. The Trail Blazers need to close out their series with Denver with maximum confidence. The only thing the Nuggets could count on was the genius of Nikola Jokic. But the playoffs and the regular season are two completely different tournaments. And not just in basketball. Edmonton also rely on the genius of Connor McDavid.
Expert Betting Tips
Denver will find it very difficult to cope with Portland. The team is progressing well, reaching as far as the conference finals last season, but they are not yet ready to take the next step. Stability is not just a word, and to be a conference finals-level team for multiple seasons, you can’t blame injuries; and you can’t make trades like the Nuggets made in the deadline. We’re talking about the trade for Aaron Gordon, in which Denver gave up Joe Harris. Such a player can, for example, effectively defend 1-on-1 against James Harden, which would help against Lillard and company. As it is, the prediction is for Portland to win. It could very well end in four games here as well.
- Portland to win for 2.00;
- Denver’s Individual Total Under 114.5 for 1.90;
- Assists. Nikola Jokic - Total Under 7.5 for 1.80.