This year’s NBA Playoffs have been some of the best, and most unpredictable, in years. It’s led us to two second round Game 7s.
Portland at Denver 3:30 ABC
This series might be the best out of all the second round series. Despite the last two games being blowouts, Game 3’s four overtime game is the best playoff game (up to this point)
Denver has been a really good home team all season and in it’s biggest game, it could be the role players that make the different. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic will be there. The question is, will Gary Harris and Paul Milsap have solid games? Will Barton and Malik Beasley shot 3-16 in Game 6. Can they respond at home?
As a team, you would think that the Nuggets home/away offensive splits would be bigger. For the most part, they are about the same with the exception of two categories. The Nuggets have shot worse at home from the three point line 31.7% compared to 38.4% in Portland. That is somewhat canceled out by the turnover margin, where the Nuggets are turning the ball over 3 times less a game at home.
If the Nuggets want to win they’ll have to do a better just with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum than they did in Game 6. The Trail Blazers backcourt combined for 62 points in the last game.
Prediction: Denver 117 Portland 109
Philadelphia at Toronto 7:00 PM TNT
The Raptors gambled when they traded for Kawhi Leonard and it’s coming up all aces. Leonard has been everything advertised as he’s averaging 30 points per game against the Sixers. On the other end, Philadelphia gambled on Jimmy Butler and the payoff has been equally as good.
As they head into Toronto for Game 7, there will be questions about both players. Will they return if their respective teams lose? For Toronto, it’s easy to argue that they need this win more than Philadelphia, if they want to re-sign Leonard.
All eyes will be on Kyle Lowry. If the Raptors lose, you can best the believe the guns will be turned towards him. Lowry and Marc Gasol will have to come up big at home.
The Sixers will need to get the ball in transition to Ben Simmons for him to be effective. In Game 6, Simmons played his best game since Game 1. Simmons shot 9-13 for 21 points. He also grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 6 assists.
Prediction: Toronto 105 Philadelphia 101