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Nikola Jokic: Trail Blazers 'Didn't Play That Good' in Game 2 Win vs. Nuggets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2019

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, right, is defended by Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Wednesday, May 1, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers have home-court advantage in their second-round playoff series with the Denver Nuggets following Wednesday's 97-90 victory in Game 2, but Nikola Jokic thinks they have more to offer. 

"They didn't even play that good to be honest," the center told reporters. "They can play better than that. It was kind of a weird game where they were [more] aggressive than we were."

Jokic has a point.

Portland shot a mere 42.4 percent from the field and 31.0 percent from three-point range while giving up 23 offensive rebounds. Yet Denver was unable to take advantage despite playing at home, consistently missing its second-chance opportunities and struggling to close the gap after an abysmal start.

Damian Lillard also struggled and finished with 14 points and four assists on 5-of-17 shooting from the field and a 1-of-7 performance from deep.

He and CJ McCollum were a combined 4-of-17 for 11 points at halftime, but the Nuggets still found themselves down by 15. To McCollum's credit, he found his touch in the second half and finished with 20 points, six assists and six rebounds while making a number of important plays in the fourth quarter.

That the Trail Blazers still won on the road with a less-than-stellar effort doesn't bode well for the Nuggets. Denver can't count on Lillard, who has developed into one of the best offensive players in the league, to shoot so poorly from the field again, and asking for 23 offensive rebounds in another game will probably be too much.

The series is also shifting to Portland, and the Nuggets were a middling 20-21 on the road this season.

Portland and Denver each have a win, but momentum is firmly on the Trail Blazers' side after they managed a split on the road while playing well below their full capabilities.

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