The Denver Nuggets have been mauling Portland inside the paint but head into Game 6 as underdogs on the road as the hometown Trail Blazers try to avoid elimination.
The Denver Nuggets have won two in a row to rebound from a 2-1 deficit in their Western Conference semifinal series with the Portland Trail Blazers. Now they’ll have a chance to close this series out in Game 6 on Thursday night. The Nuggets have been mauling the Trail Blazers inside the paint and the Trail Blazers will have to find some answers to extend this series.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Denver is also now 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last five games against teams with a winning percentage above .600. They’re also now 22-8-1 ATS record versus teams from the Northwest Division this season. it is worth noting that for whatever reason Denver is 0-6 ATS in its last six Thursday night games.
Meanwhile, Portland will be looking to keep its championship hopes alive by overcoming a 1-4 ATS record in its last five conference semifinal games. The Trail Blazers are also just 1-4 ATS in their last five games played on one day of rest. On the bright side, the Blazers went 32-9 at home during the regular season, so they should have some confidence that they can keep this series alive in front of their supporters.
Denver has overwhelmed the Blazers with their speed and scoring in this series. Specifically, the last two games have been played at the pace that Denver wants to play, which is high-scoring and in the 115/120 range. The Nuggets, which have relied heavily on Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, have been that much more consistent since the latter came on strong in this series. Denver undoubtedly has the big man advantage with Jokic and Paul Millsap leading the way down low. The Nuggets have outscored the Trail Blazers in the paint in three straight games, including 66-44 in Game 5. It’s unlikely much changes in Game 6.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland hasn’t had an answer for slowing down Denver’s attack in the last two games. Considering the over is 7-0 in each of the Nuggets last seven road games, there is a good chance that trend continues in Game 6.
In order for the Trail Blazers to outscore Denver, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both need to produce at a high level at the same time. Both players have shown flashes in this series but consistency will be the key.
It will also help if Portland can at least slow down Murray and the Nuggets guards. They need these games to be defensive struggles. They won Game 2 97-90 and while they won Game 3 140-137, the score at the end of regulation was 102-102. In Denver’s three wins, they’ve scored at least 116 points. Portland must find a way to slow the pace or this series is over.