Revisiting Games 1-6 of round 2: Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets

Game 1-6 between the Trail Blazers and Nuggets have some of the most exciting playoff basketball this year

In case you missed games 1-6, Games 1-6 between the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets have been some of the most exciting games in the playoffs.

The winner of the Game 7 will go on to face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

In Game 1 Denver pulled out a major victory to set the tone for the series. The Joker was big in game 1 and scored 37 points. The Trail Blazers had not answer for him.  Game 2 both teams played locked down defense. Not a single player on either team scored more than 20 points. Portland had a lot of production from its bench and was able to pull of the victory.

Game 3 went to four overtimes and both teams played as well as could be. However, Denver narrowly lost due to a game winning shot hit by Rodney Hood. In game 4, Jokic game back with a big game and scored 34 points.

In game 5, Denver blew out the Trail Blazers and played great defense. The Joker had 25 Points and 19 rebounds. In Game 6 Rodney Hood had a huge game again and scored 25 points to propel the Trail Blazers to victory.

Fans and teams have been very bitter and hostile towards each other this series. Both teams appeared tired in game 6 after playing 5 playoff games against each other. In game 6, after CJ McCollum hit a 3-point shot to win the game, Evan Turner gave Denver’s bench the middle finger.

After the game, when asked about the altercations that have happened this series Barton shrugged .

I’m not going to try to justify that as a way for us to play hard or wake us up… it’s playoff basketball, some things are going to happen. If we’re all out there just being friendly, it ain’t gonna look like nobody’s trying to win, huh?

As expected, Lillard has been a clutch player this series. Lillard has scored 30 or more points 15 times in the playoffs. He has had an amazing series against Denver. Big games from Rodney Hood won the Trail Blazers game 3 and 6.  He will be needed tonight for the Trail Blazers to win.

However, Lillard has not shot well from three point range this series. Lillard shot 24.1% from  the three-point line in  games 1-5 this series. However, in Game 6, Damian Lillard shot lights out and was 46.1% from three point range.

Despite Denver’s inconsistent defense, the Nuggets are one of the best NBA teams at guard the three point line.

So far in the semifinals, the Nuggets are averaging 116.0 PPG and are second in the playoffs in PPG. The Nuggets also have the second highest 3P% of any team in the playoffs. And the Nuggets have a higher FGA per games, 3P%, FT%, APG, RPG, and PPG than the Portland Trail Blazers in this series.

Despite the series being tied, the Nuggets have outscored the Trail Blazers 696 to 679 in the semifinals

By all statistical and analytical measures, the Nuggets have played better basketball in this series. However, Damian Lillard, CJ Mucclum and a breakout performance of Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood have willed Portland to a game 7.

Had the Nuggets had more playoff experience, this series would have likely been over and not even went to a game 6.

Nikola Jokic has averaged more PPG and shoots much better from the free throw line in wins.

The Joker in Denver’s wins is averaging 27.7 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 7.7 APG, .533 3P%, .567 FG%, .944 FT%. Also, he averages fewer assists in  Denver’s wins this series.  In Loses, Jokic is averages .644 FT% and 9.7 APG this series.

If game 1-6 are any indication, for Denver to win, Jokic will need to hit his free throws and be a force on the offensive end of the court beyond passing the basketball.