The Portland Trailblazers will try to bounce back from a Game 1 defeat to the Denver Nuggets. Portland had been one of the more competitive teams to face the Nuggets in Denver but came out looking flat and were never really in the game. The Blazers have a somewhat dubious Game 2 record–when trailing a series 0-1 they’ve got a series record of 3-16 and a Game 2 record of 7-12 with a current seven game losing streak in that spot. The Nuggets have been nothing special in Game 2 with a record of 4-6. The Nuggets have generally not been a good playoff team and have an all time best of 7 series record of 5-17.
Portland has been a very good team in responding with a strong effort off a loss. They’re currently on an 11-5 ATS run following a straight up loss and are 14-6-1 in their last 21 games following an ATS loss. The bad news–they’re 3-10 ATS in their last 13 Conference Semifinals games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 as an underdog. They also have a dubious current run of 0-6 SU/ATS when trailing in a playoff series. Then again, this is only the second time that Denver has led a playoff series in the past three years with the first coming in the opening round against San Antonio. They’re 0-1 SU/ATS in that spot.
Both teams are relatively healthy–the only entry on the injury report for either side is Blazers’ center Jusuf Nurkic who was lost to a nasty ankle injury in late March. In general, NBA conference semifinal matchups have been pretty competitive in recent years. At any rate, in the other three current conference semifinal series underway the team that lost Game 1 both SU/ATS came back to win and cover in the second game. That bodes well for the Blazers.
Denver’s killer instinct–or lack thereof–in the opening round series against San Antonio is now a significant concern. The Spurs were a miserable road team this year going 16-25 SU/21-2-2 ATS. The Nuggets had the NBA’s best home record and yet the Spurs won Game 1 in Denver and came very close to winning Game 7 and stealing the series finally losing by 4 but covering as a +6.5 road underdog. The Nuggets are now 4-4 ATS this playoff season.
The Game 1 victory might have been too easy for Denver and we expect the Blazers to play a better all around game here. Portland’s backcourt of CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard are a nasty matchup for any team. The Blazers have done a good job making adjustments after a poor performance and there’s every reason to expect a better showing in this game.