On May 2, the Blazers defeated the Nuggets 97-90 on the road and tied the score to 1-1.
The Blazers grabbed home advantage. Damian Lillard’s performance was average, only 5 of 17 shots, 1 of 7 three-pointers, 14 points, CJ-Mike Columb 20 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Innis Kanter 15 points and 9 rebounds, Al-Aminu 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rodney Hood, who came off the bench, scored 15 points and Zach Collins had 10 points and 6 rebounds.
The Nuggets fell short. Nikola Jokic scored 16 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists, Jamal Murray 15 points and 7 rebounds, Paul Millsap 14 points and 11 rebounds, Gary Harris 12 points. Marrick Beasley, who came off the bench, scored 13 points. The Nuggets crushed their opponents 23-7 on offensive rebounds, but there wasn’t much secondary attack score.
For the Blazers, the good news is that although Kanter is injured, he still has a good performance on the court. The bad news is that, despite this, the Blazers still lost in the first battle.
Kanter is not a normal player. When he was at the Knicks, his teammates said that he was “carrying away with a cane” after the game, but he was still brave on the court. This time he was only injured in the shoulder and he could still hold on.
“Innis is very good and efficient, and has been entrenched in the basket,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “For him, I can’t have higher requirements.”
The Nuggets won the first battle with excellent overall combat capability, and the playoffs, the rookie Jokic and Murray, are getting better. But today they are rookie-level performances, and the Nuggets are in trouble early.
The first quarter of the Nuggets is still normal, although it does not occupy the home court advantage, but can also compete with the Blazers. In this section, there are 12 seconds, Kanter layup, the Trail Blazers lead 21-12. Beasley hit a three-pointer, Pramley hit a hook, the Nuggets narrowed the gap to 3 points. The Blazers only scored one goal in the last 2 minutes of this section, still leading 28-23.
In the second quarter, the Nuggets were completely in trouble. Under the strict defense of the Blazers, the Nuggets’ offense has problems. In this section, they played for nearly five minutes and they only scored two goals. The Blazers opened the gap. With 7 minutes and 29 seconds in this quarter, Hood hit a three-pointer and they led 42-29. In the last 4 minutes of this section, the Nuggets did not score a point. The Blazers only scored 6 points during this time and ended the first half with 50-35.
The Nuggets shot just 32.6% in the first half and made 4 of 20 3-pointers. No one in the team scored in double figures. Harris and Beasley each scored 8 points. Murray only made 2 of 11 shots, only 5 points, and Jokic scored 6 points.
The Blazers shot 41.7% and made 4 of 16 3-pointers. Canter scored 11 points, Lillard 6 points and Mike Columb 5 points.
Troubled by injuries, the two teams adjusted their lineup in the second half. The Nuggets’ Clegg was injured and Beasley started. The Blazers lacked Hacles and Lehman started.
In the second half, the Nuggets recovered and narrowed the gap several times. In the third quarter, there were 4 minutes, Millsap hit a hook, the Nuggets only behind 58-66. Kanter continued to attack the basket, one person scored 4 points, the Blazers played a wave of 6-0, and then opened the gap again with 74-58. After three quarters, the Nuggets are still at a disadvantage with 64-78.
In the last 4 minutes of the third quarter, just because Jokic was affected by the foul, sitting on the sidelines, affecting their score. Clegg returned to the court with a three-minute break in this section, wearing a protective mask.
The last section of the Nuggets narrowed the gap several times. With 3 minutes and 57 seconds left, Mike Columbs had a tough three-pointer and the Blazers had another double-digit advantage with 91-81. Murray also scored three points and narrowed the gap to seven points. Since then, they have missed a few shots, but often grabbed offensive rebounds, Beasley caused fouls, but unfortunately missed two free throws. This section has not finished, the two sides’ offensive rebound rate is 14-1, but the Nuggets have not been able to take advantage of some offensive rebounds.
The game entered a white-hot stage, Murray and Kanter had a small conflict on the field, but was pulled away by teammates, each side ate a technical foul. Jokic layup, and they managed to defend, but Jokic missed three points, the Nuggets still behind 90-95. With only 27 seconds left, the Nuggets are unable to return to heaven.