Just like the first rematch from their 2019 NBA Playoffs series, the Blazers didn’t take advantage of their chances in the fourth, eventually falling to the Nuggets 114-99.
Fading Like a Flower. Portland kept the game close through most of three quarters, but gave up a late 10-0 Denver run to close the third, and struggled to get the lead down to single digits afterward.
Perfect Day. Hassan Whiteside was given the role of “don’t worry about that guy” in Denver’s defensive scheme. In some ways, it worked: Denver won. But in the process, Whiteside had a huge night, featuring a new career-high 33 points.
Shadow of a Doubt. Portland’s bench was nothing short of disastrous. During the minutes that mattered, only one non-starter scored: Anfernee Simons. The rest of the bench primarily just took up space on the court until the starters could return.
A Little Bit Dangerous. Carmelo Anthony returned to his NBA roots and put on a show for the home fans. He kept the Blazers close in the middle quarters, and kept Denver’s defense honest while other Blazers couldn’t get anything started.
Things Will Never Be The Same. Rodney Hood’s absence loomed large against the wing-enabled Nuggets. Kent Bazemore was nearly invisible at times, and with nobody behind him, Portland was at a wing deficit all night.
The Blazers get a couple days off on the road, and pick up Monday night in Phoenix.