The Portland Trail Blazers survived a physical, rough-and-tumble Game 2 on Wednesday night, ultimately defeating the Denver Nuggets 97-90 to even their second-round playoff series at a game apiece. The contest was the polar opposite of Game 1’s shoot-out, and Portland was able to step up their defensive effort for the hard-fought victory. CJ McCollum led all scorers with 20 points, while Nikola Jokic was the high-man for Denver with 16.
Here were a few key takeaways from tonight’s game:
- Bend but don’t break. The Blazers withstood a flurry of rallies from the Nuggets throughout the second half, yet never surrendered a double-digit halftime lead. They were outscored 26-19 in the fourth quarter, but were able to come up with enough timely shots to narrowly hold off the feisty Nuggets.
- Hood lookin’ good. Rodney Hood was a major x-factor in the game, and was a force on both ends of the court. In addition to 15 big points off the bench (including a crucial three in the final minutes), he made his presence known on the defensive end of the court as well, registering three blocks.
- Brick City. The Nuggets had a dreadful second quarter, scoring only 12 points and missing 10 straight from distance to close out the first half—drawing a chorus of boos from the Pepsi Center faithful as they departed to the locker room. They weren’t much better in the other three quarters, shooting just 20% from three and 34% from the field on the night.
- Clean-up crew. The Nuggets had 23 offensive rebounds on the night, including an astounding 13 in the fourth quarter alone. Overall, they out-rebounded Portland 58-47.
- Harkless hurt. Maurice Harkless rolled his ankle in the second quarter and did not return to the game in the second half. His status will be a big storyline heading into Game 3.
The series shifts to Portland for Game 3 on Friday night at 7:30 pm PT. Stick around for a deeper look at tonight’s game from Nate Mann.