Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers: The best player prop bets for Game 6
Game 5 of Blazers-Nuggets was an instant classic, a battle of attrition that bled over into not one, but two overtimes, thanks to the heroics of Damian Lillard. Dame Time ran out before the final buzzer though, and the Blazers now face an uphill climb to make it into the second round facing a 3-2 series deficit as they head back to Portland.
Can the Blazers navigate the inevitable emotional comedown that follows such a backbreaking loss? Or will the Nuggets continue to press the advantage?
Fri, June 4 2021, 12:10 AM
POR Trail Blazers
Game 6 is at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT, we have odds and picks for player props below.
DAMIAN LILLARD OVER/UNDER 33.5 POINTS
When Kevin Durant calls your performance a spiritual experience, you know you have produced something special. Larry Bird once said, "It’s just God disguised as Michael Jordan," when describing one of MJ’s scoring outbursts against the Boston Celtics in the first round.
Lillard, then at least touched God with his play in Game 5. 55 points on 24 shots. 12-17 from deep. Back-to-back buzzer-beaters to send the trailing Blazers to overtime and then double overtime. It was a virtuoso clutch performance.
Lillard fittingly broke Klay Thompson’s record for 3’s made in a playoff game with 12 (Klay’s record having been set in his legendary Game 6 performance against the Thunder in 2016). However, the rest of Portland’s squad collectively shot less than 30% from 3-point range.
The Nuggets cannot contain Damian Lillard. He’s going to get his. And Portland will need every last point.
JUSUF NURKIC OVER/UNDER 27.5 POINTS, REBOUNDS, and ASSISTS
Nikola Jokic had a similarly dominant performance, even if Dame’s will be the one to go down in history. In part that's because Portland’s best defender against Jokic, the Bosnian Beast Jusuf Nurkic, continues to struggle with foul trouble.
Nurkic fouled out in just 24 minutes of play and has fouled out in three of the five games in the series so far. He’s averaging five personal fouls a game through the series, and the only game he didn’t end up in foul trouble was a Blazers blowout almost as soon as the game tipped.
And leading back to the regular season? Nurkic fouled out of both of those two matchups with the Nuggets as well.
In the Nuggets series— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 2, 2021
Nurkic on court:
107.1 defensive rating
19.7 net rating
Kanter on court:
143.1 defensive rating
-31.2 net rating
The Blazers have outscored the Nuggets by 20 points with Nurkic and have been outscored by 31 points with Kanter per 100 possessions. pic.twitter.com/rVRGFiptFR
Per NBA writer Jackson Frank, only 10 of Jusuf Nurkic's 25 fouls this series have been committed directly against Nikola Jokic. Still, it’s clear that defending Jokic has Nurkic exhausted and consistently making mistakes.
Even if he manages to stay on the floor, Nurkic’s primary duty in this series is to slow down Jokic before worrying about his own production.
AUSTIN RIVERS OVER/UNDER 10.5 POINTS
While Dame’s offense was otherworldly, he had a headscratcher of a game on the other end.
Superstar players are often given cover since carrying an outsized offensive load naturally leaves them little energy to spare on the defensive end. No doubt there is some truth to that, but in this case, Lillard’s effort and execution on defense was egregious right from the opening moments of Game 5.
Denver guards consistently blew by Dame to get in the paint, and Austin Rivers was wide open from deep the entire game due to half-hearted closeouts by Lillard. Rivers added 18 points on just 10 shots in the contest.
Lillard was showered with well deserved praise for digging the Blazers out of the hole over and over again last game, but he deserves some blame for helping put them there too.
Portland will be relying on Lillard to be their scoring engine again in Game 6, and I expect Austin Rivers to take full advantage of Dame on the other end once again.