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Lowe: What the Blazers Must Do in Game 2

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ESPN’s Zach Lowe offers his thoughts after breaking down the game 1 tape.

NBA: Playoffs-New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Lowe wrote a piece for ESPN today covering what the Cavaliers, Blazers and Bucks need to do to bounce back in their respective game 2 match ups. Lowe went into heavy detail on the Blazers performance in game 1, focusing on how Portland can contain Anthony Davis going forward:

Anthony Davis, at 25, has reached that magical point where separate small improvements, cobbled over multiple years, coalesce to transport a player onto a higher plane. Davis has achieved unguardability. Poor Jusuf Nurkic might as well be broadcast in standard definition trying to track Davis beyond the paint.

Portland knows this. On a few possessions, the Blazers shifted Nurkic onto Nikola Mirotic so that Al-Farouq Aminu could guard Davis. Mirotic is in some ways an even worse matchup for Nurkic -- a quick-release shooter who ventures even further outside Nurkic’s natural habitat.

Aminu is easily Portland’s best option on Davis. If Portland had its full wing contingent -- with Maurice Harkless -- Terry Stotts would probably experiment some with Aminu at center. But Harkless is hurt, though upgraded to questionable for Game 2. Collins is a rookie. Nurkic is important on both ends.

Lowe also broke down how the Blazers need to work to free up shooter and get better looks:

Nurkic passed up a couple of layups when he caught the ball just outside the restricted area, with only a small help defender in his way. He has a maddening habit of going up soft and bonking those shots. Dude, you’re huge and weirdly balletic. Just go up with force.

• Posting Turner up against Rajon Rondo -- when the Pelicans hide Rondo there -- is not a bad idea. This implicates Portland’s spacing issues too, though. Turner bullied Rondo all the way to the rim in the third quarter, only to find Davis waiting to vaporize his soul. Davis roved away from Nurkic because he knew the defender behind him -- Mirotic -- would ditch Aminu to cover for him.

The entire article is well worth a read for a comprehensive breakdown of what went right, what went wrong, and what’s changeable for the Blazers in game 2.