The No. 2-seeded Denver Nuggets may have ridden Nikola Jokic towards a Game 1 win, but Game 2 didn’t work out as well for Denver, as the Portland Trail Blazers evened the series with a 97-90 victory on Wednesday.
The Blazers held a lead over the Nuggets for the last 43 minutes of the game, with Portland holding Denver to just 35.1 percent shooting from the field and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc. Jokic was held to just 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting after his 37-point performance in Game 1.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to go just 13-for-37 from the field, but they were aided by 15-point performances each from Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood to hold off the Nuggets’ late surge towards the end of the game. Portland will look to carry their momentum from Game 2 to take the series lead in Game 3 on Friday night in Portland.
Here are some takeaways from Game 2, along with everything you need to know about the series.
Blazers stuff Jokic by blitzing him with defenders
Jokic may have had a nice stat line of 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for this game, but the bottom line is, he was completely stunted by the Blazers’ defense this time around. The Blazers blitzed him with multiple defenders in the post, negating his ability to take over — as he did in Game 1 by scoring 37 points.
The Nuggets’ entire offensive unit struggled, but they go as far as Jokic takes them. Jokic was stunted — and the Nuggets as an entire unit never recovered.
Blazers’ supporting cast wins Game 2
When you heard that the Blazers won Game 2, you probably assumed that either Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum exploded and had 30-point games. But they didn’t.
Lillard had a terrible game, shooting just 5-for-17 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range while finishing with just 14 points. McCollum was better, but he didn’t dominate — he scored 20 points on 20 shot attempts.
However, starting center Enes Kanter had a huge impact throughout the game with his 15-point, nine-rebound performance. Rodney Hood came up big as he scored 15 points to lead all bench players while nailing the biggest shot of the game with two minutes remaining, converting on a 3-point attempt to give the Blazers a commanding 94-84 lead.
In other words, the Blazers’ supporting cast — not their star duo — won them Game 2.
Nuggets forget how to shoot
While Jokic did struggle in Game 2, the supporting cast didn’t help him — at all. The Nuggets’ second scoring option, Jamal Murray, converted on just 6-of-18 field goal attempts for 15 points, while Gary Harris went a miserable 4-of-12 from the field for 12 points.
As an entire unit, the Nuggets missed in every way imaginable. They shot 34.7 percent from the field, 20.7 percent from 3-point range and 61.5 percent from the free throw line.
While the Blazers did adapt and adjust their game plan to slow down Jokic, the rest of the Nuggets had open shots throughout the game and simply missed them — at home, of all places.
No. 2 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers
How to watch Game 3
- Date: Friday, May 3
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Moda Center — Portland, Oregon
- TV channel: ESPN
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: WatchESPN
- Odds: N/A
Recap of live updates
CBS Sports will be with you throughout Game 2 between the Nuggets and Blazers. If you are unable to view the live application below,.