Sports writing, May 23 (EFE) .- The Nuggets of Facundo Campazzo and Nikola Jokic could not stop an outstanding Damian Lillard who with 34 points catapulted the Trail Blazers to victory, 109-123, in the first game of the playoffs between the Denver and Portland teams.
Jokic, the main candidate for this year’s MVP, had a great performance with a new double-double with 34 points, 16 rebounds and 1 assist, but his baskets were not enough to stop the attack of the Nuggets, who scored 19 of the 40 triples they tried.
For his part, the Argentine Facundo Campazzo also put together a good game, with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, although his defense of Lillard, which at times unbalanced the Portland star, was not enough to override the Blazers point guard.
Lillard started the game cold but recovered after the break and managed to finish regulation time with a double-double of 34 points, 13 assists and 2 rebounds.
The game, which was fairly close until the final moments of the third quarter, was decided by Denver’s inability to prevent Portland shooters from scoring from beyond the three-point line.
The Trail Blazers came to Denver’s Ball Arena as the second team with the most three-shot attempts in the regular season, at 40.8 per game. And the Portland team did not disappoint the statistics by making 40 3-pointers against the Nuggets.
Lillard was the Blazers player who made the most shots from beyond the three line, 12, and also the one who hit the most, 5. Carmelo Anthony, who after starting the game on the bench added 18 points, tried 8 triples and he scored 4. While his teammate CJ McCollum, who made a total of 21 points, scored 3 of the 7 triples he tried.
The Nuggets weren’t so lucky with 3s, especially their shooter Michael Porter Jr. who made only 1 of 10 3s he shot. Denver’s team tried 36 3-pointers but only scored 11, down 30.6% versus 47.5% for the Blazers.
The game started well for the local team. Within minutes of the opening jump, Campazzo had already stolen a ball, executed one of his characteristic passes for Aaron Gordon to score from under the basket in addition to getting a triple that made it 13-7 in the first 4 minutes of the game.
But things got tougher for the Nuggets when with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter Anthony scored 3 triples and Anfernee Simons another 2 almost consecutively, allowing the Blazers to go 4-15 and leave. the score at 30-35 for Portland.
In the second quarter, the Nuggets increased their defensive pressure and made it difficult for Portland’s shooters to hit 3s comfortably, which was enough for Denver’s team to lead to the locker room, 61-58.
But after the break Lillard reappeared. The point guard increased his mobility and his inside assists to Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic opened spaces. The point guard finished his performance in the first 5 minutes of the third quarter with a triple that tied the game 73-73 after a 0-9 run.
Lillard continued to do his thing and the Nuggets defense was seen to be able to stop his changes of pace and his shots after a step back.
Lillard scored 15 points in the third quarter and the Blazers 38 for 25 points from the Nuggets, leaving the score at 86-96 at the start of the final 12 minutes.
With the score against, the Nuggets racked up errors in the fourth quarter. Porter Jr., although he made 10 points in the final 12 minutes, tried 4 triples but could not score any.
Up front, the Blazers didn’t have as many problems in the final period. Simons made the 2 triples he threw, Lillard 1 of 3 and McCollum 1 of 2. The best of the last quarter for the Nuggets was Campazzo’s defense of Lillard who managed to steal a couple of balls from the Portland guard and make his most difficult shots , enough to slow you down but not override it.
(c) EFE Agency