The Portland Trail Blazers stormed past the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series thanks to Norman Powell’s big night.
On Saturday, they did just that, despite Damian Lillard’s uncharacteristic shooting struggles.
In a 115-95 smackdown that wasn’t even as close as the final score indicates, the Blazers evened this 2021 NBA Playoffs series up at 2-2 heading into Game 5 back in Denver. Norman Powell was the star of the night for Rip City, leading the way with a game-high 29 points on a blistering 11-of-15 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range.
CJ McCollum chipped in 21 points and 8 assists, Jusuf Nurkic added 17 points and 6 rebounds, and despite his 1-for-10 shooting line, Lillard still had a positive night, finishing with a near triple-double of 10 points, 10 assists and 8 boards, along with a team-high plus/minus of plus-33.
Blazers steamroll Nuggets thanks to Norman Powell
Powell, a midseason acquisition after the team shipped out Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood, validated the move on Saturday after initially struggling to fit in with his new team. This version of Powell makes the Blazers a legitimate threat to win this series despite being the 6-seed.
The Nuggets were led by 16 points and 9 rebounds from Nikola Jokic, but the leading MVP candidate struggled with his shot, going 7-for-18 from the field and 1-for-4 from downtown to give him the worst plus/minus (minus-32) of his career.
The score was still somewhat within reach at halftime, as the Blazers led by 10 at the break on Carmelo Anthony’s 37th birthday. But Portland used a 36-19 advantage to blow the game wide open, leading by as many as 33 points in a game they led wire to wire.
After dropping Game 1 at home, the Nuggets did their job in Portland by winning one game and stealing home-court advantage back. But they’ll be searching for answers heading into Game 5 after this shellacking, especially with the injured Jamal Murray not available to help them out on the offensive end.