*10* SUPER POWER (Wednesday) ~ BLAZERS @ NUGGETS Game 2!
Portland vs. Denver,
05/01/2019 21:00 EDT,
Score: 97 - 90
Point Spread: +4½/-115 Portland
10* Portland (9:05 ET): I was a perfect 5-0 in Denver's 1st round series, but never once took the Nuggets. Now that perfect record did include three totals plays. But I also did fade the Nuggets twice, noting they didn't fit the typical profile of a #2 seed. Their regular season point differential was just 5th best in the Western Conference and their net efficiency rating was 6th. One of the teams with better numbers than them is Portland. Now, Game 1 obviously belonged to Denver, who won 121-113 as 4-point favorites. That was particularly impressive when you consider the Nuggets were 48 hrs removed from playing a Game 7. Portland had a five-day break.
The Trail Blazers actually had a better overall FG% in Game 1 (51.9 to 50.6) and Damian Lillard led all players in scoring w/ 39 pts. But it was points off turnovers that were likely the biggest determining factor and Lillard was upstaged by Denver's Nikola Jokic as the game's most impactful player. Now back to the turnovers and the points scored off them. Whereas Portland was only able to convert 12 Denver turnovers into six points, Denver converted 18 Portland TO's into 23 points. That was the difference in the ballgame.
While Denver is now 4-1 SU head to head vs. Portland in 2018-19, virtually all of the games have been close and were decided by single digits. In the regular season, they only outscored the Blazers by six points. Two of the wins were by three points or fewer. Winning close games have somewhat been the Nuggets' forte this season as they were a perfect 7-0 SU in the regular season in games decided by three points or less. Winning close games at that kind of rate is no skill, but rather good fortune. With Portland at 11-5 ATS off a SU loss and 14-6-1 ATS off an ATS loss, I'll back them to bounce back in Game 2. Take the points. 10* Portland