Portland Trail Blazers (44-33) vs. Denver Nuggets (50-27)
The Blazers return to the Moda Center to face the Denver Nuggets in the sixth game of the series after losing in Denver 147-140 in double overtime. This game is a must-win for the Trail Blazers, who are facing elimination from the NBA playoffs if they won’t. The Blazers need everyone to step up and show up if they are going to take this back to Denver.
Thursday, June 3- 5 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, TNT, or see games all season on fuboTV
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out)
Nuggets injuries: Jamal Murray (out), PJ Dozier (out), Will Barton (out)
SBN Affiliate: Denver Stiffs
What To Watch For
- Jusuf Nurkic. After Nurkic fouled out against the Nuggets, it left a large hole on the defensive end. Nurkic has to watch out for offensive fouls, which he struggled with mightily in the second half of Game Five. The Blazers need him to be there to defend Nikola Jokic down the stretch.
- Energy. Will the Blazers have any after going into double overtime? Knowing Damian Lillard and how games like that fuel his fire, the answer is yes. Plus, with 10,000 fans in attendance, the Moda Center is bound to be rocking. Hopefully the early 5pm start doesn’t impact the beginning of the game, as many fans may be late to arrive if traffic doesn’t cooperate.
- Everyone needs to play their hearts out. I think this goes without saying, but the Blazers need to firing on all cylinders to get this done. While Lillard scored 28 points between the fourth quarter and both overtimes, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Norman Powell only had five points between the three players. If the Blazers are going to put this away and move on to a Game Seven, it cannot only be Lillard willing them to it.
What Others Are Saying
Gadg Bridgford of Denver Stiffs says the stats are in Denver’s favor.
Game 5 was a huge win for Denver. In NBA history, when a series is tied 2-2 in a seven-game series, the team that wins Game 5 has gone on to win the series 85 percent of the time. Game 5 was bigger for no one other than Michael Porter Jr. After scoring three points on three shots in Game 4, he scored 26 points on 13 shots while grabbing 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the series. He’ll be looking to repeat that performance in Game 6.
Michael Porter Jr. wants to follow in Damian Lillard’s shoes according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
Not that Porter even allowed himself to crack a smile. Not with what Damian Lillard was in the process of doing – and had already done – to the Nuggets in Tuesday’s white-knuckle affair. Lillard’s 55-point masterpiece, which included an NBA playoff record 12 3-pointers, was enough to make any superstar shudder. Even with a slight lead, Porter wasn’t going to break. Lillard had already taught Denver a lesson, twice, of how fickle a 3-point lead could be.
To his credit, he stayed in the moment and helped seal a game the Nuggets felt they’d won numerous times. Without his 26-point, 12-rebound response on the heels of his dispiriting Game 4, the Nuggets never would’ve survived Lillard’s tsunami.
“That’s where I want to be one day,” said Porter of his reverence for Lillard’s clutch performance.