Paul Millsap provided an early scoring punch in the Nuggets’ Game 5 victory that kept the Trail Blazers at a comfortable distance, unable to overcome Denver’s scoring. Millsap finished with 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field. For Portland, the savvy veteran has proved a difficult matchup: bigger players don’t have the speed to keep up, and smaller players don’t have the strength to match Millsap’s.
Damian Lillard spoke to the influence that Millsap has on the court (via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk):
“They like that action with Jamal Murray and Jokic a lot,” Portland point guard Damian Lillard said of Millsap. “They’re playing out of the corners with Will [Barton] and Gary Harris and [Malik] Beasley ... then when all else fails, you’ve got to guard Millsap. They’ll throw him on the block, and he’s a handful for guys to guard because he’s in the paint, face-up jumpers, he’s making 3s. In transition, you got to find him, and then he’s a monster on the glass.”
Millsap also talked about how Denver is ready for Game 6 in Portland after losing their previous Game 6 to the Spurs in the first round (Denver won that series in Game 7 at home):
“It showed us what not to do,” Millsap said of the Game 6 loss in Texas. “That being a lot of guys’ [first] Game 6 and going into an environment like that, shocking for a lot of guys. We’ll be ready.”
You can read more from Youngmisuk’s piece here.