Thu, Jun 3, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Denver Nuggets visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, June 3, at 8 PM ET at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
The Nuggets lead this Western Conference series 3-2 and can clinch a spot in the second round of the NBA playoffs with a victory on the road.
The Trail Blazers look to force a decisive game seven on Saturday, June 5, with a win in front of their home crowd tonight.
Denver pulled to within one win of the second round with a 147-140 win in double overtime in game five despite 55 points from Portland’s Damian Lillard. Lillard connected on 12 three-pointers, which is an NBA playoff record.
Lillard hit a three-pointer to force overtime and again to force double overtime before Michael Porter Jr. hit a three-pointer to give the Nuggets the lead for good towards the end of the second overtime period.
The game featured a dozen changes in the lead and 11 ties.
"It was the best playoff performance I've ever seen," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
"At this point, all that matters is we can't lose another game in the series," Lillard added. "If I don't put it behind me, and hold onto it, it's going to get in the way of what we need to do in the next one."
Lillard hit a three-pointer with 3:47 left in the second overtime period to give Portland a 140-138 lead. The Trail Blazers didn’t score again the rest of the game en route to the game five loss.
Nikola Jokic tied the game at 140 with a layup. He finished with 38 points and one assist shy of recording a triple-double.
"It's a shame we wasted one of the all-time best performances by not being more supportive of him," C.J. McCollum said.
Monte Morris added 28 off the bench for the Nuggets, including two free throws with 8.8 seconds remaining in the second overtime session to ice the game for Denver.
"We won and lost that game so many times before ultimately winning it," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "... We never got down. Every time they threw a haymaker and got us down on the canvas, we got up and were able to pull it out in the end."
Porter said that the Nuggets did a good job of staying composed each time Lillard tied the game with a three-pointer.
"It was 0-0. We knew there was only 5 minutes. We knew we couldn't hang our heads," Porter said. "It was a big game and we needed it."
Denver will be without Will Barton and PJ Dozier in game six tonight. There are no players listed on the injured list for Portland.
Despite trailing in the series, Portland enters tonight as a -5 point favorite and has the -200 money line. The Nuggets have played well throughout this series, but place your money on the Trail Blazers forcing a game seven with a win at home on Thursday night.