Portland Trail Blazers – Denver Nuggets: 3 defining plays from Game 2

Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Damian Lillard Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Damian Lillard Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /
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Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

3. The Blazers need to work harder on offense

Of the 109 points the Blazers ended up with, Damian Lillard scored 42 of them by himself. He also added 10 assists. Basically, Lillard was entirely responsible for Portland’s offense in Game 2.

While Dame is certainly great enough to win games by himself, the Blazers will need to provide him some support if they’re to get past the Nuggets.

With Dame, CJ, Carmelo Anthony, and all of Portland’s other weapons, the Blazers offense usually doesn’t have problems finding buckets. As explosive as their offense can be though, it can also be extremely frustrating.

When Dame and CJ aren’t cooking, the offense stalls and no one else seems to want to provide an answer.

Take this play for example. Nurkic sets a high screen for Dame, doing a great job of pinning Rivers and creating a lane for his point guard. After the pick though, Nurk just floats out at 35-feet with no plan in mind. The same goes for everyone else on the floor. No one moves, aside from a soft cut from Robert Covington, and Lillard gets smothered in the paint by Aaron Gordon, forcing a travel and one of Portland’s 21 turnovers for the night.

It’s infuriating that after drawing a switch from Rivers, Nurkic just drifts by half-court instead of diving to the rim with a smaller defender on him. Damian Lillard was blitzed off of screens the most total times of any player in the NBA. Denver is no exception to this type of coverage and Portland’s other players are going to have to work harder to take advantage.

Here’s a play from the same game. After inbounding the ball, Dame runs into a hand-off/screen from Nurkic. With him, Lillard takes both Denver players defending the screen. Therefore, Nurkic is wide open to dive to the hoop for an easy basket. This is what the Blazers offense could be if the other players don’t stagnate.

With his offensive gravity alone, Dame should finish with 10+ assists every game from here on out. There’s no reason that a Damian Lillard pick-and-roll shouldn’t result in a good look every single time. It certainly shouldn’t end with a travel while the screener stands 30 feet away from the hoop.

Next. 3 instant reactions to POR-DEN Game 2. dark