Trail Blazers Return Home To Host Nuggets, Fans In Game 3

The six-seed Trail Blazers stole away home court versus the three-seed Nuggets by winning one of the first two games of the series in Denver. Now they’ll have to protect home court, and they’ll be getting some help, with the capacity at Moda Center raised to roughly 8,000, more than tripling the previous capacity put in place due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Just knowing that we’re going to have six, seven thousand more people in the building, you know it’s going to be energy,” said Damian Lillard. “Especially, I think, Denver had that same amount of people and it felt like pretty much a normal game. We know that our crowd is loud, our crowd has pride, they really care and they gonna come ready. They excited, it’s the playoffs and it’s gonna be a lot of energy in the building. I know that’s going to play in our favor.”

The Trail Blazers return home to host the Nuggets Thursday night in Game 3 with the best-of-seven series tied at 1-1. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m


REGULAR SEASON ALL-TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 100-87IN PORTLAND: Trail Blazers lead, 70-24AT THE NUGGETS: Nuggets lead, 63-30PLAYOFFS ALL-TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 10-9IN PORTLAND: Trail Blazers lead, 5-3AT THE NUGGETS: Nuggets lead, 6-5


• Through two games, Damian Lillard is averaging 38.0 points (42.9% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, 90.0% FT), 3.0 rebounds and 11.5 assists. The franchise record for scoring average in a playoff series is 33.0 ppg (Lillard, 2019 vs. OKC). Lillard's 14 three-pointers this postseason are three more than the next-closest player (11, Tim Hardaway Jr.).

• CJ McCollum is averaging 21.0 points (53.1% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, 75.0% FT), 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists through the first two games of the series.

• Through the first two games of the series, Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 11.5 points (50.0% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, 80.0% FT), 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Nurkic played 33 minutes in Game 1, finishing with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. He fouled out in 25 minutes in Game 2 after recording seven points and 13 rebounds.

• Nikola Jokic is averaging 36.0 points (61.7% FG, 45.5% 3-PT, 90.0% FT), 12.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the series. He is the postseason leader for field goals made (29).

• Through two games, Michael Porter Jr. is averaging 21.5 points (50.0% FG, 25.0% 3-PT, 100% FT), 6.5 rebounds, 1.00 steal and 1.00 block.


First Round, Game 1 - Portland 123, Denver 109 — May 22, 2021, Ball Arena, Denver

The Trail Blazers got off to a hot start in the postseason, connecting on 19-of-40 three-point attempts en route to a 123-109 Game 1 road win in Denver ... Carmelo Anthony got hot in the first quarter, scoring 12 point on 4-of-5 shooting (3-3 3-PT, 1-1 FT) in just under five minutes of play ... Anthony finished with 18 points and three rebounds off the bench ... Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 34 points (10-25 FG, 5-12 3-PT, 9-9 FT), two rebounds and 13 assists ... CJ McCollum added 21 points (8-20 FG, 3-7 3-PT, 2-2 FT), six rebounds, three assists and a block ... Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds to go with five assists ... Anfernee Simons connected on 5-of-6 shot attempts (4-5 3-PT) to score 14 points off the bench ... Portland had 29 assists to Denver's 22 ... Nikola Jokic had 34 points (14-27 FG, 3-7 3-PT, 3-4 FT), 16 rebounds and one assist ... Michael Porter Jr. added 25 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

First Round, Game 2 - Denver 128, Portland 109 — May 24, 2021, Ball Arena, Denver

A historic performance from Damian Lillard was not enough to propel the Trail Blazers to a win, as the Nuggets took Game 2, 128-109 ... Lillard tied NBA post- season records with six three pointers in the second quarter (tying Antoine Walker) and eight in the first half (tying Vince Carter) ... Lillard finished with 42 points (11-24 FG, 9-16 3-PT, 11-13 FT), four rebounds and 10 assists ... Lillard is one of six players in NBA history to record multiple playoff games with at least 40 points and 10 assists ... CJ McCollum added 21 points (9-12 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 1-2 FT), six rebounds and two assists ... Norman Powell scored 15 points (5-9 FG, 5-6 FT) to go with two blocks ... Jusuf Nurkic recorded seven points, 13 rebounds and one assist ... Enes Kanter had four points, five rebounds and one block off the bench ... Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 38 points (15-20 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 6-6 FT), eight rebounds and five assists ... Michael Porter Jr. had 18 points and four rebounds.


• In three games against the Nuggets this season, Damian Lillard averaged 23.0 points (43.9% FG, 36.7% 3-PT, 100% FT), 4.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists. Lillard has logged a double-double in four of his last six games against Denver.

• CJ McCollum played in two games against Denver this season, posting averages of 19.0 points (50.0% FG, 43.8% 3-PT, 100% FT), 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.50 steals. In the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals against Denver, McCollum averaged 26.4 points (45.5% FG, 37.5% 3-PT, 77.3% FT), 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

• In two games against the Nuggets this season, Carmelo Anthony averaged 15.3 points (47.2% FG, 41.2% 3-PT, 100% FT), 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Anthony scored 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting (3-7 3-PT, 3-3 FT) at Denver on Feb. 23.

• Jusuf Nurkic appeared in two games against Denver this season, averaging 14.0 points (52.4% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, 62.5% FT), 10.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.00 steal and 1.00 block. Nurkic boasts career averages of 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds against the Nuggets.

• In three games against the Trail Blazers this season, Nikola Jokic averaged 29.0 points (52.2% FG, 26.7% 3-PT, 92.9% FT), 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Jokic had 41 points (17-32 FG, 3-6 3-PT, 4-4 FT) against Portland on Feb. 23.

• Michael Porter Jr. averaged 12.7 points (51.7% FG, 42.9% 3-PT, 66.7% FT), 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist in three games against Portland this season. Porter has recorded two double-doubles in five career games against the Trail Blazers.


• Portland and Denver have faced each other three times previously in the postseason, with the Trail Blazers holding a 2-1 series edge.

• Portland has twice defeated the Nuggets in a seven-game series that starts with Denver holding home-court advantage. The first came when the Trail Blazers defeated the Nuggets 4-2 in the 1977 NBA Western Conference Semifinals. Portland won the NBA Championship that year. The Trail Blazers again defeated the Nuggets in the 2019 NBA Western Conference Semifinals, this time by a 4-3 margin following a series-clinching Game 7 win in Denver.

• The Nuggets took a five-game first round series vs. the Trail Blazers in 1986, 3-1.

• This is Portland's third playoff matchup against a divisional opponent since the Northwest Division was formed in 2004-05. Portland won the two previous series against Oklahoma City and Denver during the 2019 postseason.


• Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony was selected by the Nuggets with the third overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. Anthony played in 564 games (all starts) over eight seasons with Denver, posting averages of 24.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Anthony is third on the Nuggets all-time scoring list (13,970 points).

• Portland center Jusuf Nurkic began his career in Denver, appearing in 139 games (59 starts) in two and a half seasons while averaging 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.06 blocks.

• Denver guard/forward Will Barton started his career in Portland, averaging 3.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in 144 games (five starts) in two and a half seasons with the Trail Blazers.


*if necessary


HISTORIC HALF: Damian Lillard scored 32 points in the first half against the Nuggets in Game 2 on May 24 while shooting 9-of-15 from the field, including 8-of-11 from deep (6-6 FT). He tied the NBA postseason records for three-pointers in a half with eight (Vince Carter, 5/11/01 vs. Phi.) and in a quarter with six in the second period (Antoine Walker, 4/28/02 vs. Phi.). Lillard's 32 points in the half were the second-most by a Portland player in a half in the postseason in franchise history (Lillard, 34, 4/23/19 vs. OKC).

DAME DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Damian Lillard followed up a double-double of 34 points and 13 assists in Game 1 with 42 points (11-24 FG, 9-16 3-PT, 11-13 FT) at Denver in Game 2. It was his ninth career postseason double-double and the fourth time he has had at least 30 points and 10 assists in a playoff game. Lillard also joined LeBron James, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Michael Jordan and Russell Westbrook as the only players in league history to have recorded multiple playoff games with at least 40 points and 10 assists.

CJ SCORING 20: CJ McCollum scored 21 points (9-12 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 1-2 FT) to go with six rebounds and two assists at Denver in Game 2 after also scoring 21 points in Game 1. McCollum has scored 20-plus points 31 times in his postseason career, which is the fourth-most in franchise history.

RAINING THREES: The Trail Blazers made 19 three-pointers (of 40, 47.5%) in Game 1 against Denver on May 22, setting a franchise record for three-pointers in a playoff game. It was the 19th time in NBA postseason history that a team has made at least 19 three- pointers while shooting better than 47.0% from deep. Teams are 18-1 in those games. Four players made at least three threes for Portland (Lillard, 5; Anthony, 4; Simons, 4; McCollum, 3).

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Carmelo Anthony had a hot first quarter against Denver in Game 1, connecting on 4-of-5 shot attempts, including shooting 3-of-3 from deep en route to 12 first quarter points in 4:51 of gameplay. Anthony finished with 18 points (6-12 FG, 4-8 3-PT, 2-2 FT) and three rebounds. His four three-pointers matched his postseason career high.

BIG GAME DAME: Damian Lillard has gone for 30 or more points 19 times during his playoff career, including a postseason career-high 50 points against the Thunder in the series-clinching Game 5 of the first round in 2019. Lillard scored 30-plus points twice against Denver in the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals.

ALL-AROUND EFFORT: Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points (7-10 FG, 2-3 FT), 12 rebounds, five assists and one steal against Denver in Game 1 on May 22. It was his sixth career postseason double-double in 11 career outings. Nurkic is one of six players in franchise history with multiple career playoff games of at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

GAME 1 RESULTS: The Trail Blazers have gone on to win two of the last three first round series in which they won Game 1 (vs. Oklahoma City, 2019; vs. Houston, 2013). Portland won Game 2 in both of those series. The Trail Blazers beat the Lakers in Game 1 of their 2020 first round matchup before falling to Los Angeles in the series (1-4).

EIGHT IN A ROW: With a 132-116 win over the Nuggets in the final game of the regular season, the Trail Blazers clinched the sixth seed in Western Conference Playoffs. It marks Portland’s eighth straight postseason appearance and the 37th trip to the playoffs in franchise history. It is the second-longest postseasons streak in franchise history (21, 1983-2003) and is the longest active post-season streak in the NBA.

STOTTS LEADING THE WAY: Terry Stotts has led the Trail Blazers to the postseason for the eighth consecutive season, making him the first coach in franchise history to make eight straight playoff appearances. He is the 13th coach to take one franchise to eight or more consecutive postseasons since 1970-71. Stotts coached Portland to the Western Conference Finals in 2019 and has helped Portland reach the Western Conference Semifinals three times over the last seven postseasons. Stotts won an NBA Championship as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.

PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE: Thirteen of Portland’s 16 players have postseason experience entering the 2021 Playoffs, combining for a total of of 391 postseason games. Carmelo Anthony (77), Norman Powell (67), Damian Lillard (55), Enes Kanter (54), CJ McCollum(51), Robert Covington (22) and Derrick Jones Jr. (15) have all played in 15 or more playoff games. Anthony, Powell, Lillard, Kanter, McCollum and Jones have all played in the Conference Finals while Powell won a championship with Toronto in 2019.

MILE HIGH MEMORIES: Portland and Denver have faced each other three times previously in the postseason, with the Trail Blazers holding a 2-1 series edge. Portland’s most recent playoff game in Denver was the Game 7 victory in the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals. CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 37 points and nine rebounds in that game while Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for the Nuggets. Four players on the Trail Blazers 2020-21 roster played in that game for Portland (Collins, Kanter, Lillard, McCollum).

AS THE SIX SEED: The Trail Blazers enter the 2021 Playoffs as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. It is the 10th time in franchise history that Portland has been seeded sixth. The team has lost each of the nine previous series and has a cumulative postseason record of 13-28 as the sixth seed. The most recent series was in 2011 when Portland fell to Dallas, 2-4.

CLIMBING THE RANKS: Damian Lillard (1,363 points) and CJ McCollum (1,016 points) rank fourth and fifth on the Trail Blazers all-time postseason scoring list.

UPSET BID: The Trail Blazers are seeking to become the fourth team to win a first round series as the six seed since 2013, joining New Orleans (2018), Brooklyn (2014) and Golden State (2013). The Houston Rockets won the 1995 NBA Championship as a six seed.

BIG GAME DAME: Damian Lillard has gone for 30 or more points 17 times during his playoff career, including a postseason career-high 50 points against the Thunder in the series-clinching Game 5 of the first round in 2019. Lillard scored 30-plus points twice against Denver in the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals.

MADE FOR THE MOMENT: CJ McCollum averaged 26.4 points in seven games against the Nuggets in the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals, marking the 10th-highest scoring average for a playoff series in Trail Blazers history. McCollum scored 20-plus points in 12 of 16 games during the 2019 playoffs, including four games with 30-plus points. McCollum’s nine career games of 30-plus points in the playoffs are the third-most in franchise history behind Damian Lillard (17) and Clyde Drexler (14).

ON THE BIG STAGE: Jusuf Nurkic averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.40 steals in five games against the Lakers during the 2020 postseason. Injuries limited Nurkic’s availability during the 2017 and 2019 postseasons, but in 10 career playoff games, he has averaged 12.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.30 steals and 0.70 blocks. He is one of seven active NBA players with career postseason averages of at least 12.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.00 steal (James/Davis/Antetokounmpo/Jokic/Doncic/Green).

CHAMPIONSHIP PEDIGREE: Norman Powell was a member of the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. Powell appeared in 23 games during the playoff run, averaging 6.5 points (44.4% FG, 38.7% 3-PT, 73.7% FT), 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Powell had an expanded role for Toronto in the 2020 postseason, averaging 13.4 points (49.0% FG, 42.3% 3-PT) and 2.4 boards in two series against Brooklyn and Boston.

STAY ME7O: Carmelo Anthony has averaged 23.9 points per game in his playoff career, which is the 31st-highest scoring average in play-off history. With 1,840 career points in the postseason, Anthony has scored the 11th-most postseason points among active NBA players. COMING IN HOT: The Trail Blazers scored at least 120 points in eight of their final 12 regular season games and ranked second in the NBA in scoring during that span (124.9 ppg). Portland is 18-8 all-time when scoring 120-plus points in a playoff game.

ELITE WINGMAN: Robert Covington averaged 11.2 points (49.5% FG, 50.0% 3-PT, 85.7% FT), 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.50 steals and 1.08 blocks in 12 playoff games for the Rockets last season while making 2.8 three-pointers per game. Robert Horry (1996) and Metta World Peace (2003) are the only other players in NBA history to average at least two steals, one block and two three-pointers in a playoff run longer than two games.


Game #31 - Denver 111, Portland 106 — Feb. 23, 2021, Ball Arena, Denver

Portland could not overcome 41 points from Nikola Jokic as the Nuggets took down the Trail Blazers, 111-106 in Denver ... The Nuggets committed one total turnover as a team, breaking the NBA record for fewest turnovers in a game ... The Trail Blazers were perfect from the free throw line (10-of-10) for a league-leading fourth time this season ... Damian Lillard led Portland with 25 points (9-21 FG, 4-11 3-PT, 3-3 FT) seven rebounds and 13 assists ... Carmelo Anthony tied a season-high with 24 points (9-17 FG, 3-7 3-PT, 3-3 FT) to go with four rebounds and one assist ... Derrick Jones Jr. scored a season-high 18 points (7-9 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with five rebounds and three blocks ... Enes Kanter recorded his 16th double-double of the season, finishing with 16 points, 14 rebounds and two assists ... Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 41 points (17-32 FG, 3-6 3-PT, 4-4 FT), five rebounds and five assists ... Jamal Murray added 24 points, five rebounds and eight assists.

Game #58 - Denver 106, Portland 105 — April 21, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

The Trail Blazers suffered their second one-point loss in as many nights, falling to the Nuggets 106-105 Wednesday night in Portland ... Portland had six players score in double-figures for the 15th time this season ... Damian Lillard paced the Trail Blazers with 22 points (9-23 FG, 2-10 3-PT, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, five assists and two steals ... Lillard passed Jason Kidd and is now in sole possession of 10th on the NBA all-time list for made threes ... CJ McCollum added 14 points (6-13 FG, 2-7 3-PT), a season-high nine rebounds, five assists and two steals ... Norman Powell had 17 points (4-10 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 8-8 FT), two rebounds, two assists and two steals ... Robert Covington recorded 12 points and eight boards ... Jusuf Nurkic finished with eight points, seven rebounds, and six assists ... Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 25 points (9-18 FG, 1-6 3-PT, 6-7 FT), nine rebounds and five assists ... Michael Porter Jr. scored 17 points, with all 17 in the first quarter.

Game #72 - Portland 132, Denver 116 — May 16, 2021, Moda Center, Portland

Portland led by a season-high 21 points after the first quarter and never relinquished the double-digit advantage, defeating Denver 132-116 at Moda Center in the final regular season game ... CJ McCollum recorded his sixth straight 20-point game, finishing with 24 points (9-17 FG, 5-9 3-PT, 1-1 FT), two rebounds and five assists ... Damian Lillard added 22 points (7-13 FG, 5-9 3-PT, 3-3 FT), three rebounds and 10 assists ... Lillard broke his own franchise record for three-pointers in a single season, finishing with 275 ... Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points (8-10 FG, 1-1 3-PT, 3-6 FT), 13 rebounds, two assists and two blocks ... Norman Powell had 19 points and three rebounds in 33 minutes ... Enes Kanter had 14 points and 15 rebounds off the bench ... Markus Howard led the Nuggets with a career-high 23 points (8-17 FG, 4-8 3-PT, 3-3 FT) ... Nikola Jokic added 21 points, three rebounds and two assists.


Zach Collins (left ankle, stress fracture) is out for Thursday’s Game 2 in Denver.

As for the Nuggets, Will Barton (right hamstring; strain), PJ Dozier (right adductor; strain) and Jamal Murray (left ACL; surgery) are out.


Thursday’s game, and all of Portland’s first round playoff games, can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest. The game will also air on NBA TV (subject to local blackout restrictions). The game can be heard on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.