After inching by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the NBA Playoffs over the weekend, predicting what we were going to see from the Denver Nuggets in their second-round series against the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers would not be easy. Two more Jokic free throws 20 seconds later, and the Nuggets had Game 1 in hand. Kanter tried to slow him down, but simply couldn't.
The Blazers and Nuggets are meeting for a third time in the post-season, with both winning one series. The player nicknamed The Joker was unstoppable.
"Just being the aggressors", said Maurice Harkless, who was forced out of the game mid-second quarter with an ankle sprain.
"We played good defense, we outrebounded them by 11, we didn't get hurt with points off turnovers, but couldn't make a damn shot".
"He's like a quarterback out there", his teammate Paul Millsap told ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk following their Game 1 win.
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He has been derided throughout the campaign and failed to establish himself as first choice under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It is tough for Liverpool , it is tough for us -- with 91, 92 points, still not champions".
Kanter suffered the shoulder injury in the Trail Blazers' deciding Game 5 win over Oklahoma City last Tuesday.
The forward later hit a pair of clutch free throws to seal the victory.
Pascal Siakam also came up big, scored 29 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. After wincing and groaning through an individual pregame workout, it wasn't even a guarantee that Kanter, who separated his shoulder in the final game of the first round, would play Monday. "So I think in Game 2, we have to have that mindset that we have to pressure him as much as we can".
The Blazers and Nuggets will continue their respective playoff runs Monday night when the two sides meet in the series opener of their best-of-seven set. As usual, he was the hub of the Nuggets' offense, directing traffic and finding space a half-second before anyone else sees it.
Malik Beasley hit two 3-pointers and Millsap sank a jumper to give Denver a 101-89 lead with 10:19 to go.
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Plumlee then slammed home a miss by teammate Malik Beasley and Beasley rebounded another miss and made a layup as the Nuggets seized a 109-96 lead with 6:11 left to play.
CBS Sports will be with you throughout Game 2 between the Nuggets and Blazers. In the end, the Blazers simply turned the ball over too much and despite Lillard's best efforts - he finished with 39 points on the night - Portland could not overcome Denver's onslaught.
Officiating has been under intense scrutiny this postseason, boiling over in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series between the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors that had both teams upset after Golden State's win.
Kanter, who signed with Portland after being waived by the Knicks following the trade deadline, was originally a back-up to starter Jusuf Nurkic, but his role was magnified when Nurkic broke a leg March 25.
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