After dropping two straight games, the Portland Trail Blazers came out and dominated the Denver Nuggets in Game 4. Norman Powell led the charge for the Blazers in Portland’s 115-95 win with 29 points.
After taking a 10-point lead at half-time, the Trail Blazers broke open things in the third quarter because they surpassed the Nukets by only 17 points during that frame. In the end, that shortage was too much for Denver to deal with. As a result, the fourth quarter was mostly junk time, with both teams emptying their respective benches.
With this win, Portland draws the series 2-2. Game 5 is scheduled to air on ET and NBATV at 9pm on Tuesday. Before moving on to that game, here are three key trips from Portland’s victory in Game 4.
1. Joseph Nurkik This time Nicola Jogik got the best
At one point, Nicola Joachim and Joseph Nurkik were teammates in the Knuckles. Later, Nuggets decided to roll with the jockey and trade the narcissism. Now, the former teammates are rivals in the first round series between Denver and Portland, and on Saturday afternoon they had two different performances.
Jogik had a star season and he will be crowned MVP in the coming weeks, but man, he made a tough journey in Game 4. The worst game of the series was when Jogik finished with 16 points in a 7-to-18 shootout from the field, with one assist and two turning points. Overall, he created a very tough time for himself or his teammates. He was team-low-32 in the 27 minutes he was out on the ground, and he was often beaten by a knock on both ends.
Jogik’s bad game was not a complete coincidence because Nargik continued to struggle hard at the end of the attack, and he made him act defensively by going right for him. So while the Jockey had the worst game of the series, Nurkik had his best. He scored 17 points in just eight overs, and he was +32 in his 27 minutes – the polar against Jogikin-32. It’s only a game, but if it’s the first time you’ve seen a guy play, you would have come to think that Noork is the best big man. If that trend continues, Blazers will definitely win the series.
2. Nugget is much needed from Michael Porter Jr.
Since Jamal Murray landed with a season-ending injury in April, Michael Porter Jr. has been behind Denver’s second choice as a jockey. As a result he was the finalist for the Most Advanced Player award. However, in Game 4 against him he played MIA 23 minutes, but took three shots and scored three points. It’s not going to do that from a player. Moving forward, the Knuckles will need Porter Jr. and look for his own shot rather than what he did in Game 4. When Porter Jr. puts pressure on defense, it opens up opportunities for other nails, which is not what we saw on Saturday as Porter Jr. finished with zero aids. Porter Jr. spent most of the season as a future star, but not so much in this game.
3. The “others” advanced to Portland
Damien Lillard did not have his best game on Saturday afternoon. He scored just 10 points in a 1-to-10 shoot from the ground. Fortunately, he had plenty of help. Portland’s “others”, as Shahul O’Neill puts it, are really advanced. If someone tells you that Lillard is going to get just 10 total points, you will assume that the Blazers can’t pull off a win. But, that’s what happened. Norman Powell (29 points), C.J. Lillard was Portland’s fifth leading scorer in Game 4, with Blazers receiving other key contributions from McCollum (21 points) and Jusuf Nurkik (17 points).
The fact that they were able to pull off a win despite being from Lillard this afternoon is a sure sign for the Blazers, and it will boost a confidence in the rest of the list. Lillard is obviously going to go back, but Portland’s move forward should continue to try to get a variety of contributions at the end of the attack, as it looks like Lillard will have to do most of the heavy lifting when Portland is at his disposal. Of the ball. In Game 4, the Blazers were shown to have other players capable of carrying the load.