PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Denver Nuggets overcame a barrage of 3-pointers by Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard to get the 128-109 win in Game 2 and even up the Western Conference first-round series 1-1.
Here are six takeaways from Game 2:
Very choppy game from both sides
This game was the definition of a playoff game intensity-wise. Both the Nuggets and the Blazers not only brought energy but brought a ton of physicality which forced this game to be as choppy as it was. In this game, there was a combined jaw-dropping 46 fouls between both teams. This made the game extremely hard for either side to really find their rhythm and also forced this game to be extremely slowed down for both teams.
A rough game for CJ
CJ McCollum really struggled in Game 2 of this series. It’s not that he had a really hard time scoring the ball, but he certainly didn’t take care of the ball or even make the best decisions. McCollum really had a tough outing Monday night. However, while he had a bad game, McCollum should bounce back in Game 3 and make a big impact much like he did in Game 1 of the series.
Lillard with an unreal night
The Blazers couldn’t come away with the win against the Nuggets in Game 2, but at least All-Star Damian Lillard was nothing short of amazing in the game. In a time when the Blazers needed a spark and were on the verge of getting blown out in the second quarter, Lillard put on an absolute clinic against the Nuggets. He finished the game with 42 points and hit an unreal eight 3-pointers in the second quarter alone. Now, with the series tied 1-1, Lillard is going to have to come up big for the Blazers the rest of the series if they want to knock off the Nuggets.
Nuggets came out and just shot the ball better
In Game 1 of the series, the Nuggets really struggled shooting the ball. That certainly was not the case in Game 2. The Nuggets shot a very impressive 52% from the field until late in the fourth quarter when the starters went out. I stated before that if the Nuggets were not able to knock down shots and keep up with the Blazers, then they would have a very hard time standing a chance in this series. In Game 2, the Nuggets really came out and knocked down their shorts which directly showed in their play and their energy level. If they continue to knock down their shots, this series won’t be as easy as it looked in Game 1.
Bench points for Blazers
In Game 1, the Blazers bench came up huge for them in the win with Carmelo Anthony, Anfernee Simons and Enes Kanter all contributing to the win. In Game 2, that wasn’t the case, the bench had little to no impact for the Blazers compared to Denver, whose bench came out and really kept the energy high and helped lift the Nuggets.
This was a huge area of emphasis for the Blazers which resulted in the win in Game 1. It was simple, if the Blazers took care of the basketball, they would win. Despite this formula, the Blazers really struggled taking care of the basketball in Game 2. They had a very disappointing 21 turnovers in the game and that led to a huge advantage for the Nuggets, which made all the difference Monday night.