NBA PLAYOFFS, SECOND ROUND, GAME 3
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets
Location: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m. PT
Radio: Rip City Radio 620 AM
Live streaming: Stream on ESPN (requires subscription to TV provider); NBA playoff games can be streamed live with a subscription to the following services: Hulu + Live TV (does not include NBA TV), Playstation Vue (not all plans include NBA TV), DirecTV Now (not all plans include NBA TV), Sling TV (NBA TV is available as an add-on), fuboTV (does not include ESPN), and YouTube TV; the NBA won't be airing any playoff games live on NBA League Pass because all the games will air on national television, but subscribers will have access to the games in the NBA League Pass archive three hours after the games end (subscription required; local games and nationally televised games are blacked out).
Odds: Blazers favored by 4, over/under set at 214.5
Series at a glance
Best-of-7 series tied 1-1; all times Pacific; x=if necessary
(2) Denver Nuggets vs. (3) Portland Trail Blazers
Game 1 (at DEN): Nuggets 121, Trail Blazers 113 (box score)
Game 2 (at DEN): Trail Blazers 97, Nuggets 90 (box score)
- 'A tough group effort:' Blazers beat Nuggets 97-90 to even series 1-1
- 3-on-3 Blazers: Portland steals home court from Denver
- Blazers coaches wear bow ties to honor coach injured in SUV crash
- Jokic after Blazers' Game 2 win: 'They didn't even play that good'
- Report: No suspensions for players who left bench during Game 2 scrum
Game 3 (at POR): Friday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Game 4 (at POR): Sunday, May 5, 4 p.m., TNT
x-Game 5 (at DEN): Tuesday, May 7, time TBD, TNT
x-Game 6 (at POR): Thursday, May 9, time TBD, ESPN
x-Game 7 (at DEN): Sunday, May 12, time TBD, TV TBD
By the numbers
Murray banged up: Jamal Murray, the Nuggets' second-best player, is nursing two injured legs. According to various reports (here and here, for starters), Murray hurt his right thigh in Game 2 against the Blazers, after injuring his right thigh in Game 6 of the first-round series against the Spurs. If Murray is banged up and ineffective, it could be the difference in the series. As The Ringer points out, as Murray goes, so go the Nuggets. "Including the playoffs, Murray has made more than 45 percent of his field goal attempts in a game 40 times this season. In those games, the Nuggets are 31-9. The 28 times that he's hit fewer than 40 percent from the field, though? They're just 13-15. Denver has won every playoff game in which he's scored 20 or more points. ... And the Nuggets have lost every postseason contest in which he's failed to crack 20."
Home, sweet home: The series shifts back to Portland for Games 3 and 4, which bodes well for the Blazers. Portland had the third-best home record during the regular season (32-9) and is undefeated (3-0) at the Moda Center so far in these playoffs. The Blazers are outscoring teams by 8.9 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs at home, after besting opponents by 8.1 points per 100 in the regular season at the Moda Center. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are a mediocre team away from Denver. During the regular season, they were 20-21 on the road, and in the playoffs, they're 1-2. On the road, the Nuggets were outscored by 2.5 points per 100 possessions in the regular season, and are being outplayed by 3.8 points per 100 in playoff road games.
Defensive improvement: The Blazers are allowing 105.6 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs, nearly four points less than during the regular season. They're holding teams to 43.3% shooting in the playoffs, and 32.6% on 3-pointers. Both are better than their regular-season marks (45.7% from the field; 35.9% from the 3-point line).
Rebounding a concern? Portland was outrebounded 58-47 in Game 2 against the Nuggets and gave up an astounding 23 offensive rebounds. The Blazers were the best rebounding team in the NBA during the regular season, but in the playoffs, they're grabbing 50.9% of available rebounds (71.6% defensive; 29.1% offensive), which are all down from the Portland's regular-season average of 52.6% (73.9% defensive; 30.8% offensive).
Nuggets: OUT: Michael Porter Jr. (lower back surgery)
Blazers: OUT: Jusuf Nurkic (left leg); QUESTIONABLE: Maurice Harkless (right ankle)
3-on-3 Blazers podcast
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Jared Cowley writes about the Trail Blazers and other topics for KGW.com. He's also the co-host of the 3-on-3 Blazers podcast (listen here). You can reach him on Twitter @jaredcowley.