NBA fans will be treated to an exciting double-header of thrilling Game 7 drama on Sunday and it all starts with a divisional clash between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.
A trip to the Western Conference Finals is more than enough motivation for two teams to throw everything they have into Game 7. When you add the in-division rivalry element and consider it’s been more than a decade since either team made it to the conference finals.
Game details: Here’s a look at the start time, television information and odds for Sunday’s Trail Blazers-Nuggets Game 7.
- When: 3:30 p.m. EST
- Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
- TV: ABC
- Betting Line: Denver -5.5/212.5
The big picture: This game will provide plenty of star power as some of the NBA’s best, young players take the court with a chance to push their team further than it has been in years.
Everything will be on the line when the Trail Blazers take the floor against the Nuggets and with that comes a lot of exciting possibilities and surprises.
Here are a few bold predictions for Sunday’s Game 7 clash between the Trail Blazers and Nuggets.
Nikola Jokic drops a triple-double
We’ve already seen Jokic do it twice in this series and fans should feel pretty confident he’ll do it again in a pivotal Game 7 battle. The 24-year-old is unstoppable as a player and Portland has no real answer to stop him.
The points and rebounds should come easily for Jokic, especially against Portland’s front court. He’ll shoot efficiently and a higher volume in Game 7 should lead to 30-plus points and 12-plus rebounds.
It will all come down to the assists and the teammates around him. Fortunately, there’s enough outside shooting on this team to help him get 10-plus assists and record his third triple-double in the series.
Multiple technical fouls are handed out
The fireworks started to come out towards the end of Game 6 and the quotes spilling from the locker room have made it even clearer. The tension for this matchup is palpable and should lead to some fiery interactions.
A clash between Jamal Murray and Damian Lillard, two talented and emotional players, could lead to a heated exchange and carries the potential for technical fouls. Meanwhile, Seth Curry and Will Barton showed their fiery side on Thursday night in a scuffle and it could carry over into Sunday.
Officials will likely keep a very close eye on this one and given the likelihood for Game 7 to be called a little looser and be more physical, it all makes for a cocktail that could brew into serious on-court drama.
Jamal Murray’s shot goes cold
There is no denying Murray’s breakout 2019 season has captured attention around the NBA and fans have witnessed even more greatness early in the playoffs. However, Game 7 could be a major learning experience for the 22-year-old.
Murray caught fire midway through the series with 34-point games in Game 2 and 3, but he cooled off since with just 14-of-36 shots made in his past two contests. This game is going to be something Murray hasn’t quite experienced before and with the added pressure and his riding cold streak will extend into a frigid night in Game 7.
Fortunately for Denver, a crushing loss and poor performance could be the spark that turns Murray from an All-Star into a superstar, following a similar path as Lillard.
Rodney Hood steps up in the clutch
It feels like at some point Hood’s hot streak will come to an end, but sometimes a player is just feeling it and can’t be stopped. Hood is in the zone right now from deep and might even be the MVP for this series given his contributions.
The 26-year-old is shooting 58.3 percent from three-point range in this series and set career-highs for points in a postseason game twice. He allows the Trail Blazers to rest C.J. McCollum and puts another shooter on the court in the second and fourth quarters.
Hood isn’t just playing to get this team to the WCF, he’s also got a contract on his mind. Watch for the impending free agent to drop another 20-plus points off the bench, including some clutch three-point daggers in the fourth quarter.
Damian Lillard’s drops 40-plus to sink the Nuggets
Some players are born for the clutch moments, delivering memorable performances in Game 7 is just in their DNA. Lillard is one of those players and he is going to bring Dame Time to Denver on Sunday.
We saw Lillard do it against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 50-point masterpiece and a jaw-dropping shot at the buzzer to win it. He is going to carry that same mentality into Sunday’s battle with his mind focused on finally making it to the third round.
Denver’s defense is much better than anything OKC threw at Lillard, but sometimes there is just no stopping an MVP-caliber player on a personal mission. The hot stroke from three-point range is back and it’s going to bury Denver into submission in Game 7.