Following plenty of first-round drama, but just one series which went to seven games, the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs is finally set. Saturday night’s Game 7 between the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets decided who grabbed the final spot in the conference semifinals. While the series featured the No. 7 seed Spurs nearly pulling off the upset, the Nuggets defended their home court to survive and advance.
Next up for Nikola Jokic and company is a date with the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers, who are coming off an impressive 4-1 series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The series was sealed on a wild 37-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer of Game 5 by Damian Lillard, and his play will surely be a talking point moving forward in the playoffs.
We’re going to preview the series between the Blazers and Nuggets while offering a prediction on which team will advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets 2019 NBA Playoff Preview
These two teams finished within one game of each other during the 2018-19 NBA regular season. The Nuggets wrapped up the year with a 54-28 record while the Blazers were 53-29, earning a tiebreaker for the No. 3 seed over the Houston Rockets.
A number of things jump out about this series, but specifically how good both teams are on their home floor. The Nuggets had the best home record in the NBA at 34-7 while the Blazers were close behind at 32-9. Denver having the higher seed and a potential extra game on their own floor could come into play here, and if so they’d have to like their chances.
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The Blazers and Nuggets met four times during the season, with Denver picking up three victories. Each of the matchups was decided by single digits and two of Portland’s losses were by three or fewer points. There’s no question that we should have multiple close finishes throughout this second-round series.
Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets 2019 NBA Playoff Schedule & Prediction
Note: Tentative times and dates are listed below with all information courtesy of Sports Media Watch. The times of these games will be updated once they are finalized by the league.
Monday, April 29
- Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Wednesday, May 1
- Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets 9 p.m. ET (TNT)
Friday, May 3
- Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers Time TBD (ESPN)
Sunday, May 5
- Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers 7 p.m. ET (TNT)
Tuesday, May 7
- *Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets TBD (TNT)
Thursday, May 9
- *Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers TBD (ESPN)
Sunday, May 12
- *Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets TBD (ABC or TNT)
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets Prediction
While the Nuggets have an impressive amount of firepower in the likes of Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Paul Millsap, among others, it’s hard not to like how Portland is playing. The Blazers’ confidence is on another level right now, and it’s easy to understand why after their round one win.
I think this series will go to six games, but I’m backing Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and the red-hot Blazers. Portland is playing with a chip on their shoulder and while slowing down Jokic will be a tall task, I’m not sold that the Nuggets will have an answer for Lillard and McCollum.
Prediction: Blazers win in six games