The Portland Trail Blazers need to pick up the pace
As pointed out by announcers Joel Meyers and Brendan Haywood, one of Denver’s few weaknesses is their transition defense. Point-center Nikola Jokic often operates out of the high post and the top of the arc, pushing his wings and guards to the corner and block. Off of a miss, that makes Jokic their first line of defense on a fast break.
The Trail Blazers are in the lower half of the league in terms of pace. They average 98.4 possessions per game, good for 19th in the NBA. Playing fast is not one of their strengths or motives, but against the Nuggets, they should switch gears.
In the first three games of the series, including two Blazers losses, Portland averaged a whopping 6 fast break points per contest. In their blowout win in Game 4, they totaled 20, two more than in their first three matches combined.
The Nuggets are bigger, longer, and stronger than the Blazers across the board. It’s time for Portland to turn those disadvantages into leverage points with their speed.
Upping the pace would lead to easier looks, more chances to score, and forces the Nuggets mammoth superstar to run up and down the court.
If the Trail Blazers are looking for a quick-fix against the Nuggets, the fix is to play quick.