The Argentine base Facundo Campazzo was one of the figures in the Denver Nuggets’ victory over the Portland Trail Blazers by 120-115, at the Moda Center, in a game corresponding to Game 3 of the First Round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Blazers stadium was more crowded than usual in times of COVID-19 and it was not just a sensation: it was allowed to the management of the home team increase their capacity to 8,000 fans for the playoffs. Before this special permit, the Moda Center had the qualification for 10% capacity -something like 1,900 people-, a situation that occurred in the last four regular series games.
Denver prevailed by a tight 120-115 to lead 2-1 in the series and regain home-field advantage. Campazzo touched the triple double and Jokic shone again against Nurkic’s great level. All the details, in the Alejandro Pérez column.
Campazzo, who started again for Michael Malone’s team, scored 11 points, delivered eight assists and grabbed eight rebounds in the win that gave the Nuggets the lead in the series two games to one..
The Argentine base scratched the triple-double and he came very close to being the first Argentine to achieve that mark in a postseason game. Only five players in NBA history made it to triple ten in a playoff game: Magic Johnson (five times in 1980), Ben Simmons (once in 2018), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (once in 1970), Jerry Lucas (once in 1964) and Tom Gola (once in 1965).
On the other hand, the Serbian Nikola Jokic was once again decisive with 36 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and perhaps most importantly: 50% from the field in his shots. He made the decisive shot on the last play of the game after scoring with offensive rebound including points 119 and 120 by Denver, after two missed free throws by Monte Morris that could have complicated the victory of the visit. Jokic, ESPN Stats reports, became the first player to score at least 30 points on 50% of the field in his first three games of a postseason, since it was achieved by a certain Michael Jordan in 1992.
The unknown hero of the day had a first and last name: Austin Rivers. The son of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers came to Denver with a ten-day contract, but returned his price in gold: He scored 21 points (5-10 on 3s) and grabbed four rebounds on Thursday night. besides being a guarantee in defense.
Beyond the cold stats, Rivers’ 3s were instrumental in unlocking the game in the fourth quarter. In fact, the four 3-pointers in the final six minutes of the game matched the most singles in that fourth-quarter span of the last 25 postseason runs. ESPN Stats bonus track: His 14 points in the deciding quarter were his most in a final period in his entire playoff career.
“It feels good, I don’t know how much I can elaborate on this. It feels really good,” Rivers told the AP at the close of the game. “This game can lead to the worst feeling in the world. I swear, some nights you feel very bad. But also this game can make you feel very good,” he completed.
The Nuggets defeated the Blazers 13-2 in the clutch – last five minutes of the game with a difference of +/- five points – thanks to nine points from Rivers, 2 from Jokic and two from Morris.
Campazzo and the Nuggets they will face Portland in the fourth game of the tie next Saturday afternoon, again at the Moda Center.