The Portland Trailblazers are very likely happy with getting a split out of the first two games of this series in Denver. The Nuggets had the best home record in the league during the regular season (34-7) but were very mediocre on the road (20-21 SU). That means the Blazers get Games 3 and 4 on their home court at the Moda Center which is a pretty tough place to play in it’s own right. Portland isn’t far behind Denver this season with a home record of 35-9 SU/26-18 ATS. Including the playoffs the Nuggets are 21-23 SU/18-26 against the spread meaning this is a bad situational spot for Denver.
What was most impressive about Portland’s 97-90 win over Denver was the way that the entire team contributed helping to compensate for a rare bad night by Damian Lillard. Lillard finished with just 14 points in the game but he was one of six Blazers in double figures led by CJ McCollum’s 20 points. Enes Kanter gave Portland a big boost with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. The Blazers didn’t shoot particularly well from the floor hitting just 42.4% overall and 31% from three point range but that was significantly better than Denver’s 34.7% from the field and 20.7% overall. The Nuggets have a very ugly record though it dates back over a decade–they’ve been horrible when tied in a playoff series currently on a 2-8 SU/1-9 ATS run.
Portland has shown a tendency to play very good basketball overall when they’re getting a good defensive effort. The game after they allow 90 points or less they’re 17-5 SU/14-5-2 ATS. The Nuggets didn’t bounce back well from bad performances especially well this year going 4-10 ATS off an upset loss as a favorite and 4-6 ATS revenging a home loss. Portland finished the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the league and they haven’t shown much let up during the playoffs. Dating back to the regular season they’re 13-4 SU in their last 17 games. They’re also money in the bank in this pointspread category with a phenomenal record of 38-18-1 (67.8%) as a home favorite of 0.5 to 4.5 points. Nuggets are on a 1-7 ATS run as a +0.5 to +4.5 underdog and on a 3-7 ATS run against teams with a home record over .500.
The Blazers didn’t get much respect in the first round against Oklahoma City and while they’re getting a bit more now it doesn’t seem like the public appreciates how good they really are. Given their strong record at the Moda Center and Denver’s road struggles they’ve got a good chance of leaving Portland after Game 4 with a 3-1 series edge.