The Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets are facing in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals tonight.
All the fans are hoping to see another big clash of these two opponents, who might even develop a rivalry after all the encounters they had over the last two seasons.
The upcoming clash is all about who recovers faster from an exhausting Game 3 in which we saw four overtimes. Many of the players spent more than 60 minutes on the court, and the physical aspect of their preparations will now be of great importance.
Emotional recovery is the second thing, and that especially applies to Denver, who must forget the loss from two days ago. If they still stay in that moment, the Trail Blazers are going to have an easy task.
What might be a problem for the home team is Enes Kanter’s situation. The Turkish international played 56 minutes in Game 3, and his shoulder injury went from bad to worse after that. He is the only thing which stops Nikola Jokic form destroying the Blazers, and if 6 foot 11 can’t play, Portland’s chances for success are pretty slim.
Kanter is averaging 17.3 points and 10.7 boards and is a force which limits Jokic under the rim and manages to control the glass in certain ways.
On the other side, Jamal Murray is the key to Denver’s success. He oscillates too much in the series, and even though he dropped 34 points in the previous encounter, he was far below the needed level when the game was on the line. His several mistakes cost the guests a lot.
Denver’s bench also needs to step up. In the situation like this one, when all the starters are near their physical limits, the replacements have to jump in and bring the energy on the floor.
Throughout the season, Mike Malone praised them a lot; now it is time to see are all those kind words true or not.
One more thing. The X-factor of the series, Rodney Hood, now has a chance to become Portland’s hero. If he delivers another performance like in Game 3, hosts have solid prospects to go to Colorado with a 3-1 lead.
Game 4 starts at 5 p.m. local time, Oregon.