NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semis Preview and Betting Tips

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Monday, April 29, 2019 6:54 AM UTC

Monday, Apr. 29, 2019 6:54 AM UTC

We can expect a fast paced high scoring series to determine who will make the Western Conference Finals. Damien Lillard and Nikola Jokic will have their chance to prove their mettle on a national stage. Expect points, drama, and more points in this Western Conference showdown

<p> </p><p> </p><div><h2><b>Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trailblazers</b></h2><p> </p><p>Wow! What a journey we've taken to get to this series. Damien Lillard hit a 40ft contested 3 to close out the series vs the Thunder, one of the most memorable shots you will ever see. The Nuggets had the only 7 game first round series and the playoff neophytes overcame the less talented but more fundamental San Antonio Spurs. This was a fantastic win for the Nuggets in their return to the playoffs and they stepped up when need be. After a tough loss in game 1, where we worried the moment might be too much for them, they regained home court by winning in San Antonio in game 4, and then came through in game 7. Advancing past this solid Spurs team definitely is a confidence builder for this team and the direction of their program.</p><p>The Nuggets won the season series 3-1, winning both at home and stealing a game from Portland early in the season. Both teams play much better at home making the home court advantage crucial. The Blazers will have the best player on the floor in crunch time, as Dame Lillard is as close as you can get to unstoppable. He is up there with Curry having the most range in the league, and can get to the rim and finish. CJ McCollum can create his own shot and is a reliable scorer to pair with Lillard. Enes Kanter, who I wrote off as a defensive liability in the last preview, proved me wrong by scoring, attacking the offensive glass, and being decent on defense, where I had chalked him up as one of the worst defenders in the league. Kanter more than made up for the loss of Nurkic, and Al Fariq Aminu played his role well, defending strong and hitting catch and shoot 3's. Portland looks strong and balanced heading into this series.</p><p>The Nuggets have more depth and scoring options. They are led by Nikola Jokic, but Jamal Murray can explode offensively, like he did to essentially save the series at the end of Game 2 in Denver. Gary Harris can fill it up too, but Will Barton has struggled, and has had his role decreased significantly. Credit to coach Mike Malone for recognizing this and making the tough decision to reduce the role of one of his best players. I think Denver can punish Kanter more effectively than OKC did, as they have more players who excel in the pick and roll. A Murray Jokic pick and roll combo will be fascinating because you can't guard Jokic with the smaller player and if you blitz him he is a proficient passer who will find the open man. Murray should be able to torch Kanter if they simply switch, so how Portland reacts to this will be a key to the series. Conversely, Denver will have problems containing Lillard. Jokic is not the best rim protector so if they get Denver PF Paul Milsap out of the lane, Lillard and McCollum can feast at the rim. This should be a high scoring series, with many games coming down to who can execute on the offensive end.</p><p>In the end I think the home court advantage will play a big role. Denver is lights out at home, and with a series so close in so many facets I believe it will be the deciding factor. Getting the crucial games 5 and 7 at home should be the edge that Denver needs to advance.</p><p><a href=";a=4fd3c129-b898-4816-9a61-9f7e8f34295a&amp;f=1" target="_blank" title="NBA Betting Odds"><em><b>Best Tip: Denver to win series at @ 1.72 at Unibet</b></em></a></p></div>
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