The Trail Blazers are down 3-2 to the Nuggets but do have the advantage of being at home in the May 9th NBA playoffs free pick. Both teams could be considered to have value, Portland being at the Moda Center as -3.5 favorites but also Denver getting the points as they’ve won the last two in the series. Denver would seem like the play here after their dominating victory Tuesday, but the league loves a Game 7.
Can Nuggets Continue to Dominate the Front Court?
Denver posted the most convincing win of the series thus far in Game 5, reeling in the 124-98 victory at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday. The biggest edge the Nuggets had in that tilt was their front court as Paul Millsap had 24 points and 8 rebounds while Nikola Jokic had 25 and 19. Millsap has shot better than 62% when guarded by Al-Farouq Aminu or Enes Kanter. The PF had 21/10 in Game 4 and 17/13 in Game 3, both at the Moda Center which bodes well for the May 9th NBA playoffs free pick. Are the Trail Blazers out of options to throw at the Denver bigs?
Another big key for Denver Thursday is to continue their tantalizing defense. Gary Harris and Torrey Craig have done a great job of limiting the Portland scorers about as much as you can. The Nuggets have held the Blazers to 102 points or less (in regulation) in 3 of the last 4 games in the series. Denver winning the last two games of the series also does a lot for momentum. If the Nuggets can get out to an early lead, it could negate the one major edge Portland has in this contest – their home crowd.
Portland A Solid Wager With Their Season on the Line?
The Trail Blazers definitely need a rebound game after their performance in Game 5. Portland shot just 37% from the field and 10-37 from three point range. On top of that, they were outrebounded 62-44. Portland was down by as many as 31 points in that game. If there’s one morsel of solace for Terry Stotts’ team it’s that Denver was in a very similar situation in Round 1 vs. San Antonio. The Nuggets dominated the Spurs 108-90 at the Pepsi Center in Game 5, but fell on the road 103-120 to force a Game 7 that they obviously ultimately won. Did that just give Denver experience though?
Trail Blazers starters sat the whole 4th quarter Tuesday so they should at the very least be fresh for Game 6. Damain Lillard scored 50 the last time Portland’s season was on the line at home – Game 7 in Round 1 vs. OKC. Are the rigors of the playoffs finally getting to Lillard though, especially as Denver repeatedly sends fresh defenders after him? CJ McCollum has to be better too, but he’s averaged 35 ppg at Moda Center games in this series.
May 9th NBA Playoffs Free Pick Betting
Bettors are split with a slight 51% favoring Portland. The Trail Blazers looked disengaged in Game 5 but is that more of a sign of fatigue setting in? Portland will have a bit of a boost with their home crowd behind them, but Denver is the better team – especially up front. The Nuggets know what mistakes they made in Game 6 vs. San Antonio, and will be fired up themselves trying to get to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2009.
NBA Playoffs Free Pick: Denver Nuggets +3.5