The Denver Nuggets emerged triumphant over the Portland Trail Blazers in their six-game series. Portland stole game one in Denver, the Nuggets followed up with two wins then won another two after their next loss. All in all, the series was packed with a punch of offense and stellar superstar play.
Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers NBA Playoffs Recap
Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets and NBA MVP
Nikola Jokic made one thing clear in this series: he’s the league’s MVP. During the regular season, he played all 72 games and helped the Nuggets to a third seed, even though accompanying star Jamal Murray suffered a season-ending injury. Jokic averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. He does it all.
Against the Blazers this series, Jokic averaged 33 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. It’s amazing to consider that although a center, seeing Jokic average under five assists per game seems odd. Either way, Jokic dominated the series. Portland’s center rotation of Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter stood no chance.
Portland is always a formidable opponent, and there were Nuggets skeptics in this series due to Murray not playing. Jokic took care of business and led his team to a fantastic series victory.
It’s Dame Time
Damian Lillard played fantastic for Portland as well. This series was truly a duel between two superstars.
Lillard averaged 34.3 points, 10.2 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. Like Jokic, Lillard was everywhere.
In Game 5, a 140-147 loss, Lillard dropped 55 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds. This also came on 17/24 shooting, including 12/17 from three. Lillard was amazing during both overtimes, keeping Portland alive with an onslaught of seemingly impossible threes. It wasn’t enough, however, as his teammates did not show up. This was the case for the majority of the games.
The first-round exit is not on Lillard, as he exceeded all expectations. Portland desperately needs help to allow their superstar to flourish in the playoffs.
Portland heads home, ready to rest and regroup for next season. They also recently let go of Head Coach Terry Stotts. The team will have several questions to answer and there’s no time to slip up during Lillard’s prime.
Denver travels to Phoenix to play the Suns on Monday night. Phoenix recently dismantled the Los Angeles Lakers, so this will be another tough match-up for Denver. On paper, Phoenix’s depth reigns supreme, but that’s also because they’re healthy. Murray would’ve been excellent for this series to compete with the Suns’ plethora of talented guards. Jokic will have to continue to play at an MVP level to give the Nuggets a chance to reach the Western Conference Finals.
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