The Portland Trail Blazers leveled the semifinals series versus the Denver Nuggets at 1-1 despite Damian Lillard scoring 20 fewer points than his playoff average. Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer took notice of the performance by Lillard’s teammates in Game 2. He named them, most notably CJ McCollum and Enes Kanter, as a “winner” of the night.
In the fourth, [McCollum] hit a floater and two 3s, including a clutch 26-foot stepback 3 with four minutes left that pushed the Blazers’ lead to 10. It wasn’t quite Dame-like, but it was enough. McCollum finished the job, but Enes Kanter was the thorn in Nikola Jokic’s side all night. Kanter wasn’t just effective in his usual ways—post play, rebounds—he also made Jokic work on offense instead of leaving him with an open runway to work his magic.
Uggetti’s “loser” of the night was Denver’s shooting. No surprise there.
Part of this was an off shooting night, which brought out some boos from the home crowd, but part of it was also the way the Blazers defended. They clearly prioritized limiting Jokic inside as much as possible, swarming and doubling him to force him into tough passes or turnovers (he had two). And when he did find an open shooter, the Blazers tried to close out and contest.
You can read more from Uggetti here.