The Denver Nuggets went on the road and stole Game 3 from the Portland Trail Blazers to go up 2-1 in the series, thanks to a scoring outburst from Austin Rivers in the fourth quarter. Rivers scored 16 of his 21 points in the final frame of action, draining four triples in the process. His wide-open 3-pointer with under six minutes to go in the game put the Nuggets in the lead for good as they walked out of the Moda Center with a win.
Of the 16 teams in the playoffs, Portland ranks 14 in defensive rating, and while the Blazers haven't been known to have a stout defense in the last few seasons, they'll need to tighten it up on that end of the floor in order to get a win in the next game. Here's everything you need to know ahead of Game 4.
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(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers
- Date: Saturday, May 29 | Time: 4 p.m. ET
- Location: Moda Center -- Portland, Oregon
- TV: TNT | Live stream: TNT
- Odds: DEN +175; POR -200 | O/U: 227.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Nuggets: Denver got great production from everyone in Game 3, and shot over 52 percent from deep in the process. All five starters scored in double figures, and each of Monte Morris, JaMychal Green and Paul Millsap contributed some points to make a difference. Going into Game 4, Portland will surely try to stifle Austin Rivers who went ballistic in the fourth quarter, so it will be up to other guys like Morris, Millsap and Aaron Gordon to knock down their shots if Rivers starts to get more attention from the defense.
Trail Blazers: Aside from Carmelo Anthony, the Blazers got minimal production from their bench, and even though Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to put up 59 points, it still wasn't enough to overcome a hot shooting Denver team. But defense should be Portland's main priority going into Game 4. They allowed the Nuggets to put up 39 points in the first quarter, and 36 in the fourth and that's just not going to get it done in the playoffs. If the Blazers aren't locked in on that side of the ball, then they could be headed for another loss and facing elimination after Saturday's game.
Pick: Denver looks like it has figured it out on both ends of the floor, and although Lillard is still breaking free for 30-plus point games, they're not allowing him to go completely nuclear, which is a good thing. I think the Nuggets pick up another win and head back to Denver with the chance to finish the series and advance to the next round. Pick: Nuggets +5