After a massive Wednesday of hoops, where our free NBA picks went 3-1 and brought in $63.67 profit, we are keen to go at it again tonight!
Two massive games where both Denver and Phoenix have the opportunity to win and advance to the next round of the NBA Playoffs. The Blazers and Lakers, respectively, won’t go down easily though and we have analysed every aspect to come up with our two winners for tonight’s action.
Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trail Blazers (Game 6) – 8pm EDT
What a clash between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers in game five. With the series tied at 2-2, it took a double-overtime thriller for the Nuggets to prevail, winning 147-140.
Nikola Jokic managed just 10 points to halftime, but finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four blocks. Michael Porter Jr shot 76.9% from the floor for his 26 point and 12 rebound night while Monte Morris came off the bench to pour in a career high 28 points.
Denver shot a massive 20/44 (45.5%) from deep for the game, and was 27/32 (84.4%) from the line as well. All of this was to overcome Portland’s hot shooting and Damian Lillard’s spectacular night. The Blazers went one better than the Nuggets, shooting 21/48 (43.8%) from deep on the night, but ultimately still fell short.
Damian Lillard is the first player in NBA history with at least 50 points, 10 assists and 10 three-pointers in a game, regular season or playoffs. pic.twitter.com/k4bXNY4ndv
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 2, 2021
Portland might not have gotten the result they wanted but it could have been a lot worse if Lillard hadn’t had the record breaking night that he did. After finishing with 55 points and 10 assists, Lillard broke the NBA playoffs record for three pointers made (12), and was also the most points scored in a playoff game while recording double digit assists.
His 10 assists resulted in 25 Portland points, with the 80 points coming off his points or assists being the most in playoff history. Denver coach Mike Malone even went as far as saying that ‘Lillard was superhuman’ for his incredible performance. However, at the end of the day Denver still won and now holds a 3-2 series lead.
Denver played great in this game and was good enough to still win despite Lillard’s heroics. That puts them in good stead, knowing that he is unlikely to put up that sort of effort in game six. However, we expect both Lillard and the Blazers to step up across the board and extend this to seven games. It is what this series deserves. It is what Damian Lillard deserves. And in front of their home crowd, Portland will rally together and come out on top.
Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers (Game 6) – 10:30pm EDT
With the series tied at 2-2 and game five on their home court, the Phoenix Suns showed out, dominating the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite LA holding an early 10-5 lead, Phoenix went on a 16-5 run to steal the lead in the middle of the first quarter and then a separate 24-2 run spanning over the first and second quarters to put the game out of reach.
Devin Booker shot 56.5% from the floor to finish with a game high 30 points while Cameron Payne, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson all reached double figures. The massive aspect of this game was that Phoenix took advantage of every opportunity they got, committing just four turnovers for the entire game.
This also restricted the Lakers from getting easy points, and that certainly could have used a few of those. With Anthony Davis out of the lineup, Lebron James was tasked with the main offensive efforts throughout the game. He ended up with 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds, but had little help from those around him. The other four starters combined for just 11 points with Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope being held scoreless.
30 points is the largest lead at half in Suns playoff history.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 2, 2021
As a team the Lakers shot just 34.5% from the field, their worst shooting display for season 2020-21 and if Davis is unable to return in game six, it is hard to see how they will be able to turn things around. James said post-game that he is preparing for game six as if Davis won’t be out there on the floor and that might be a sign of things to come.
Phoenix thrived against the shorthanded Lakers in game five and have already shown us they can win in LA with their game four efforts. Despite this, they are three point underdogs heading into this clash and we can’t help but think it is because of James’ dominance in elimination games. However, he is showing signs of weakness, whether it be his ankle or his age, and this Lakers team is built poorly around him, with Davis not on the floor.
AD has stated that we wants to play but is yet to be medically cleared. Without him in the lineup, or even if he plays but is less than 100%, Phoenix will have the edge and should end this series tonight.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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