The second-round series between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets was close for four games. Game Five was not. With a chance to take the series lead, the Trail Blazers laid one of their biggest eggs of the season.
Damian Lillard had 22 points, but Portland shot just 31.2% from the field through three quarters and 27.8% from three as they were blown out of the Pepsi Center, 124-98. The team shot 1-of-10 on open threes through three quarters, and had absolutely no answer for Nikola Jokic or Paul Millsap. Jokic had 25 points and 19 rebounds, while Millsap had 24 points.
Here are the adjustments for the series:
- It could not have gotten worse: The Nuggets shot well over 50% through three quarters as they faced almost no defensive presence by the Trail Blazers. Enes Kanter and Al-Farouq Aminu were helpless down low. Jamal Murray continued to be able to attack at will. It was a complete defensive collapse.
- My kingdom for a rebound: Offensive rebounds by the Nuggets continued to haunt Portland. Denver beat them in second chance points yet again, and the open threes too often fell into the hands of Nuggets players. Damian Lillard led the team in rebounding for much of the game. When your point guard is leading the rebounding race, something has gone wrong.
- Second unit, first problems: Seth Curry continued to struggle in the series. Evan Turner’s shooting has been literally non-existent (he is shooting 12.5% for the series). Zach Collins and Meyers Leonard hit threes when the team was down by 30, but it was too little too late.
- Rare air for Damian at the stripe: Damian Lillard did not miss three or more free throws in a single game all season long. He has now missed three at the line in back-to-back games. The last regular season game where he missed three? April 9, 2018... in Denver.
Game Six will be Thursday night in Portland.