Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers Game 4 Pick
Denver Nuggets (59-33 SU, 47-45 ATS) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (59-31 SU, 49-40-1 ATS)
When: Sunday, May 5th, 2019 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Point Spread: DEN +3 / POR -3 (MyBookie)
Total: O/U 210
Last Time Out: Portland won game three 140-137 in 4OT. The Blazers lead the series 2-1
Game Four Rest Advantages:
After a four-overtime thriller, neither team will get much time off before game four is here. Especially for the Nuggets, they had their star player, Nikola Jokic play almost 65 minutes, so it will be interesting to see how ready he can be for what will be a must win in game four. When both teams receive just one day of rest, the Nuggets are 33-28 straight up and 27-34 against the spread. As for the Trail Blazers, they are 42-17 straight up and 34-25 against the spread in the same scenario.
The most notable injury is that of Enis Kanter. Kanter reaggravated his separated left shoulder and injured his right bursa. At the time I am writing this preview, Kanter’s status is unknown. Keep an eye on his status because that is sure to play an important role.
Now or Never:
The Nuggets started game three very slowly and eventually managed to claw their way back by the end of regulation as we all know. It was evident that this team ran out of gas in the overtime periods and it showed based on some of their lazy passes. When you look at the box score, you will see that Denver outshot Portland from the field and from the three-point line. So, what really was the reason they fell short?
Denver’s downfall came from all the turnovers. They had 21 turnovers in this game compared to Portland’s 14. That said, one of the biggest keys to a Denver win will be taking care of the ball. Not only do the Nuggets need to take care of the ball, but they also need to have a bench guy step up.
The player who I believe can provide this spark is Will Barton. In games one and two, Barton scored a total of 13 points. Whereas, in game three he came off the bench and put up 22 points. Considering the Nuggets have had lackluster production from their bench this entire series, it was nice to see a guy step up and help his team finally. The Nuggets will get plenty of points from their starters, but the bench production will be why they win this game.
When your team scores 140 points in a four-overtime game, it usually means multiple guys had a huge impact on the game. The obvious choices for game four are Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum, but I want to focus on a couple other guys who can be the difference for this Blazers team in game four.
I want to start with Rodney Hood because his three-pointer was the shot that ended up winning the game for Portland. Hood scored 19 points total in game three, but if you were not aware, 7 of these points came in the fourth overtime. By this time everyone was dead tired so getting a boost off the bench was critical to the Trail Blazers win. Hood has been under the radar this series and really has been a huge reason why the Blazers are up 2-1. He is averaging 17 points per game this series and is shooting 16 of 29 or 55.2% from the field and 7 of 13 from the three-point line or 53.8%. This is a big leap in points compared to his first-round series where he scored 3.2 points per game. Hood is not only playing well this series, but he also played well against the Nuggets during the regular season. He played the Nuggets twice in the regular season after his trade from Cleveland. In these two games, Hood averaged 14 points. So really Hood has played well against the Nuggets this whole season. Hood is the main reason why I believe the Blazers will win because he is just one more guy for the Nuggets to guard and they have failed to do so thus far.
A second player I want to look at is Zach Collins. Collins has not played all that much in this series, but it is possible he gets more playing time with the status of Kanter unknown. If Kanter is unable to play or is limited Collins performance will be crucial. By that I mean he will likely have to match up with Jokic. While I do not think Collins can stop Jokic, he is still a big body and can hopefully at least be physical in the low block to alter some of Jokic’s shots. Now even if Kanter does play, it is unlikely that he will be at full strength, which is again why I think Collins needs to have a more productive game.
The Nuggets obviously have their backs to the wall and must win this game to tie up the series. I am still very concerned about the status of Kanter, which leads me to believe that the Nuggets can and will pull this game out. Give me the Nuggets plus the points to take this series back to the mile-high city tied up.