After the Nuggets secured their first win at home against the Blazers, Portland were determined to snatch Game 2 on Wednesday night. But the 97-90 win didn’t come from Portland’s leader Damian Lillard, it stemmed from the team as a whole.
Backtracking to the opening game, the Nuggets gave up 39 points to Lillard and were determined to shut down the superstar for the second. Lillard, who came in averaging 34.8 points in the Playoffs was held to just 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting. This was a great analytical tactic for Denver as Portland are 3-from-10 all-time when Lillard has been held below 20 points in the postseason.
But Game 2 was really unnatural between the two teams and both were a little off and just couldn’t get rolling. The match turned out to be a physically bruising night, where Portland measly had the edge over Denver. CJ McCollum was by far the best player for the Blazers who time and time again nailed crucial shots, grabbed that extra rebound, or delegated the perfect pass to his team. He finished with a game-high 20 points on 8-for-20 shooting. But the biggest surprise to this team was Rodney Hood as his 15 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 huge blocks couldn’t have come at a better time.
As much as this Blazers team are looked at as a ‘lone wolf’ being tailored around Lillard, the pack truly showed up and save Game 2. Now the series is even and moving to Portland for Game 3. Friday nights match is more than just a must-win game for both, it will be an epic showdown.
Catch you Monday.