DENVER — After a thrilling seven-game series with the Spurs that ended in a nailbiting win on Saturday, the Nuggets were back in action on Monday with a short turnaround to face a Portland team that rolled through the Thunder in their first round series.
There were moments where you could tell the Nuggets players were a bit tired, but they never let it effect their play as they executed with crispness on the offensive end in Game 1. Early on, it was both teams trading buckets throughout the first half, as Denver held a tenuous 58-55 lead after the first half, with both teams shooting just over 52% from the field at the break.
Damian Lillard led the way with 15 first half points for the Blazers, despite an aggressive approach from the Nuggets on defense to attack him coming off pick and rolls. Enes Kanter, who was a gametime decision with a shoulder injury, also came out hot with 14 first half points, making the Nuggets pay in those moments where they sent help at the Blazers star backcourt.