Michael Porter Jr will be looking for a bounce back performance for the Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday against the Blazers. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Trail Blazers and Nuggets face off in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday, June 1st
- The series is currently tied 2-2
- Get the odds, injury report, preview, and prediction below
The Portland Trail Blazers head back out on the road to take on the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday in a very important Game 5 with the series tied at two. Tip-off is scheduled for 9pm ET.
The Blazers blew the Nuggets out of the water on Saturday behind a tremendous performance from midseason acquisition Norman Powell, winning 115-95. Expect Nikola Jokic and co. to come out of the gates firing in this one after a rather uninspiring Game 4.
Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Game 5 Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at FanDuel|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+1.5 (-112)||+100||Ov 226 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||-1.5 (-108)||-118||Un 226 (-110)|
Odds as of May 31st.
The Trail Blazers thankfully had a clean bill of health for Game 5, with the exception of Zach Collins, who hasn’t played all year. The Nuggets, however, are still dealing with absences in their backcourt.
Guard Will Barton (hamstring) is making progress in his recovery, but he’s been ruled out for Tuesday. There is a chance he returns for the last two contests of the series, though. PJ Dozier (groin) is out for the entire first round. Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo will need to continue stepping up for Denver with little depth behind them.
Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Projected Lineups
|Damian Lillard||PG||Facundo Campazzo|
|CJ McCollum||SG||Austin Rivers|
|Norman Powell||SF||Michael Porter|
|Robert Covington||PF||Aaron Gordon|
|Jusuf Nurkic||C||Nikola Jokic|
Playoff Powell Shows up
It’s always a positive when your best player doesn’t have to drop 30+ to win a game. That was the exact case on Saturday, with Damian Lillard collecting just 10 points in their convincing victory on home court.
Norman Powell, who was seen as a very key addition at the trade deadline, finally broke out of his slump. The former Raptors swingman erupted for a career-high 29 points to lead the Blazers, while CJ McCollum had 21. When Powell plays at this high level, it takes the offensive burden off Dame’s shoulders especially and gives Portland a third scorer to complement their star backcourt duo.
He also brings a ton of postseason experience to this team, having played on the big stage with Toronto while even winning a title in 2019. Playoff Powell must continue to step up for the Blazers if they want to make a deep run because Dame and McCollum can’t do it alone.
Saturday’s game was also impressive in the fact that Jusuf Nurkic was actually able to contain Jokic for once. The MVP frontrunner had just 16 points in the loss and even sat out the fourth quarter.
“I love these types of games, types of moments … When you get into the playoffs the only thing that matters is winning, and for me as a player that’s all that mattered to me.”
💬 @npowell2404 pic.twitter.com/02Xrc2DpxD
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 30, 2021
There wasn’t any glaring stat that stood out in Game 4. Portland was simply firing on all cylinders offensively, while the Nuggets weren’t. Tuesday will certainly be a different story though, with Denver usually dominant when playing at home, going 25-11 during the regular season.
Limited Help For The Joker
It’s not too often that Jokic has an off night, but especially with Jamal Murray on the shelf until next season, the supporting cast must rise to the occasion for the Nuggets.
As mentioned above, the Joker collected a mere 16 points in Game 4. The saddest part was that he was actually their leading scorer. Denver shot an atrocious 29% from downtown and just 34% from the field.
Love a good Joker Jam pic.twitter.com/jHw469paHD
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) May 29, 2021
It was an especially dismal performance from Michael Porter Jr, who has been expected to essentially make up for the absence of Murray offensively. The former Missouri star had three points in 22 minutes of action.
I was really impressed with what Michael Porter Jr. said today. Took the onus on himself to get better, be more aggressive and take better/more shots.
Excited to see if his words turn into production tomorrow.
#Nuggets #MileHighBasketball @CBSDenver pic.twitter.com/xiXJOreA1Y
— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) May 31, 2021
The Nuggets’ starters were outscored 49-26 on Saturday night in Portland, with the Blazers shooting 65% against their first unit. While Nurkic was able to limit Jokic’s production, don’t expect it to happen again in Game 5 because the Denver big man has basically had his way with Portland’s best interior defender all series long.
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It really couldn’t have been a worse showing for the Nuggets on the weekend. They were playing soft on both ends and allowing the Blazers to score at will. But, the Joker is going to respond in loud fashion on Tuesday.
Dame is coming off an awful night as well and he should also get back to his regular self. Playoff Powell is alive and well which is a serious concern for Denver because he is absolutely clutch at this time of the year.
This is going to come down to the wire, but I’m taking Portland to pull out a crucial victory in Game 5 on the road.
Pick: Portland Trail Blazers ML (+100)
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.