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Nuggets – Trailblazers

Nuggets Blazers Game 1 handicapping

The Denver Nuggets will host the Portland Trailblazers in Game 1 of this Western Conference semifinals series.

The Nuggets (2nd seed) are coming after an emotional Game 7 win against the Spurs a couple of nights ago, a four point victory which earned them a 4-3 series win against Coach Pop and his crew. The Nuggets, who have been great all regular season, started that series slowly, as their lack of experience showed against a savvy opponent. But Denver bounced back, played better as the series progressed, and won 3 of the last 4 games to qualify for the semifinals.

The Blazers (3rd seed) have arguably been the story of the first round, after their 4-1 destruction of the Thunder – despite being the underdogs on paper in that series. Damian Lillard in particular played out of this world and affirmed himself as a true superstar in this league. The Blazers will surely need him to continue on the same note, especially considering the fact that they are dealing with injuries in the frontcourt.

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Team news: The Nuggets are at full strength ahead of this game. The Blazers lost their starting center Nurkic before the playoffs, and now his replacement, Kanter, is hurt as well. Kanter is questionable for Game 1, but even if he plays, he will likely be limited in minutes and performance, as his shoulder injury is pretty serious.

Listen, the Blazers were excellent in the first round against the Thunder, but quite honestly they also took advantage of the fact that the Thunder were very poor. Paul George wasn`t at 100%, Russell Wesbtrook had a horrible shooting series, and all the OKC team shot the ball poorly.

The Nuggets will be a tougher test for the Blazers, especially in Denver, where it`s always hard to win due to the high altitude. The Nuggets finished as the second seed in the West for a reason and they will fancy their chances at home against anybody – including against a good but not great Blazers side.

The most important argument for Denver here is represented by the problems Portland has in the frontcourt. Without Nurkic and with Kanter possibly out as well (or hobbled at best), Portland will face an almost impossible task in stopping Denver`s main man, Nikola Jokic. The Djoker has been excellent so far in these playoffs and Portland simply doesn`t have competent bodies to put on him – even if Kanter ends up playing in Game 1, he is a poor defender which would get eaten alive by Jokic even when healthy – not to mention when hurt and limited.

The Blazers do have the advantage of having 6 days of rest compared to only two for the Nuggets. But the Blazers couldn`t travel earlier to Denver since they did not know who they were going to play in the semis, so they still won`t have time to fully get used to the altitude which is always such an edge for the Nuggets.

Considering the favorable matchup the Nuggets have in the frontcourt with Jokic for this Game 1, and adding the home court advantage, they should be able to win this despite having less time to rest. Plus, with a break of almost one week for the Blazers, maybe Lillard will cool off a bit. My tip will be Nuggets to win. Prediction: Denver Nuggers – Portland Trailblazers 110 – 104.

Pick: Nuggets
Odds: 1.58 @ 1xBet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 4.32
Event date: 30 April

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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