The Portland Trail Blazers will face off against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the NBA playoffs, and Brad Botkin of CBS Sports examines how patience has paid off for both teams as they move on in the postseason. Botkin explains how both the Blazers and Nuggets ended up playing each other, given how seeding shook out, and avoided playing the Golden State Warriors. He notes that the quiet strength of Portland meant that while others count them out, the team didn’t count themselves out.
All the while, the Blazers have been a really solid team for a long time: Seven straight playoff appearances in the mighty Western Conference, a top-five seed six of those years, the No. 3 seed the last two. Every year they’re the team people want to tear down. You can’t win with that small of a backcourt, people say. They don’t play defense. Damian Lillard isn’t a championship-level star (LOL). Terry Stotts isn’t making any progress. The second Jusuf Nukic went down, once again, everyone bet against the Blazers.
Everyone, except the Blazers.
According to Botkin, the Nuggets will be a worthy opponent for the Blazers as both the higher seed and a team that struggled to close out the series against the San Antonio Spurs. However, he relays that the Nuggets have spent considerable time developing their defense this year, and they showed real determination in fending off the Spurs.
The Blazers and Nuggets play their first game of the series Monday evening. You can read more here.