The second-seeded Denver Nuggets will kick-start the second round playoff series with a home game against Portland Trail Blazers at Pepsi Center, in Denver, Colorado, on Tuesday morning (IST).
What competition it is? NBA Playoffs
Series: Western Conference Semi-finals, Game-1
Teams: Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers
Match Day: April 30, 2019
Jump Ball Time: @ 08:00 AM IST
Where the game is played? Pepsi Center (18,007)
TV Info: Sony Sports Network has the rights to stream NBA matches in India. Premier members can also catch the Live Action on SonyLiv App.
DEN vs POR Dream11 MATCH PREVIEW:
It took longer than expected. But the second round series is here. Denver Nuggets will start at home and will look to keep their home court advantage.
Denver Nuggets had to dig deep in their series against San Antonio Spurs. But it was expected as Gregg Popovich is one of the best masterminds in NBA, and the squad was also experienced and talented.
So Denver rolling them over was never going to happen.
In the series-defining game, Nuggets beat Spurs 90-86 at Pepsi Center. Their defence stood upright just a few days after giving away 120 points in Game-6.
But even their last win was far from being comfortable as Spurs rallied late to threaten a comeback. The 2014 Champions outscored Nuggets 25-18 in the penultimate quarter.
With the momentum swinging in favour of visitors, Jamal Murray buried a floater with 36 seconds remaining in the match. That was the game.
Nikola Jokic dropped another triple-double with 21 points, 10 assists, and 15 rebounds. Jamal Murray scored 23 points along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Now Nuggets face Portland Trail Blazers, a team playing perhaps the best Basketball at the moment. They will also have to put up with Damian Lillard, Blazers' nuclear weapon who can destroy any team in the world.
As Oklahoma City Thunder found out.
The Game-5 looked to be heading to the over-time. But Lillard sunk an outrageous buzzer-beater from the deep, and the rest is the history.
Blazers were swept aside by Thunder in the regular season. The series was expected to go down to the wire. But Lillard came out on a mission and got the business done in five games.
On the other side, with Nuggets it always feels that they are missing something. Despite ending the regular season as a second-seeded team, they went 2-6 against Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors in the regular season.
So they may lack the big game mentality. But Nuggets got the monkey off their back with their first playoff series win since 2009.
Regular Season Record-
Denver Nuggets: W-54, L-28
Portland Trail Blazers: W-53, L-29
Players to watch out for:
Nikola Jokic – Denver Nuggets can't get enough of Nikola Jokic. For he is their first All-Star since the Carmoly Anthony era. The big Serbian is perhaps the best passer of the ball of his generation. He can see a pass which others can't. And his chemistry with Jamal Murray is incredible, to say the least. A Deadly combo!
He created history in Game-6 of the first round series against Spurs as he exploded for 43 points to set up the franchise record in the playoffs. Not only that, as he also added nine assists and 11 rebounds to his incredible stats. In the first six games, he has averaged 23.5 points per game, and also lead the assists (9.0 per game) and rebounds (11.7 per game) charts for Nuggets.
Portland Trail Blazers:
Damian Lillard – The shot he took in Game-5 will perhaps go down as one of the best shots ever made in NBA. He hit a buzzer-beater to floor Oklahoma City Thunder and helped his team win the series.
Currently, he is playing the best Basketball of his life. And what better time to hit the lofty heights than the all-important playoffs. It reveals every bit about his potential and big game mentality.
CJ McCollum – Together with Lillard, CJ McCollum is Blazers’ main man. It was his performance in the first half which gave Blazers a four-point advantage going into the break. The 27-year-old is averaging 26.3 points per game in the playoffs.
DEN vs POR Dream11 TEAM NEWS:
Injured – For the hosts, Michael Porter Jr will miss the rest of the post-season with a back injury.
Questionable – None at the moment.
Suspended – None.
Portland Trail Blazers:
Injured – First choice Center Jusuf Nurkic will be missing the semifinals with the Denver Nuggets. He was absent throughout the first round series as well with a leg injury he suffered three weeks before the start of the post-season.
Questionable – In addition, Nurkic's understudy Enes Kanter is a major doubt due to the shoulder injury he suffered in Game-5 against Oklahoma City Thunder.
I'm not going to lie, it hurts pretty bad,” Kanter said.
Suspended – None.
DEN vs POR Dream11 Teams (Starting Lineup; Probables):
From the bench (Probables):
DEN vs POR Dream11 Fantasy Team:
INDIA FANTASY PREDICTION:
Over the course of the regular season, Denver Nuggets suffered just 7 home defeats, which was by far the best home record. Blazers meanwhile split the away record in the regular season.
A win for the Nuggets is our call.
NOTE: THIS DEN vs POR Dream11 MATCH PREVIEW IS BASED ON OUR RESEARCH AND UNDERSTANDING FROM VARIOUS NEWS SOURCES. YOU CAN SELECT YOUR OWN PLAYING 11 ON THE BASIS OF TEAM NEWS.