2021 NBA Playoffs: Blazers vs. Nuggets Game 5 implications

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2021 NBA Playoffs: Blazers vs. Nuggets Game 5 implications originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

With the series tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 wins the series 82.5% of the time (174-37) in NBA history.

So for the Portland Trail Blazers, winning Game 5 at Denver to return for a closeout game at home is crucial. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

Heading into Game 5, the Trail Blazers have a 52.5% chance to win the series per SportsRadar.

With a win Tuesday, Portland's odds of advancing to the second round increase to 83.67%, only a little over a percentage off of the NBA historical odds. However, with a loss, Portland's odds crater to just 18.53% needing to win Game 6 at home and a Game 7 on the road.

While Portland did complete the 3-2 comeback in 2019 against Denver, that has rarely happened in NBA history. Not including the neutral site bubble Game 7s last summer, just 29 away teams have won a Game 7 in 134 attempts (21.6%). 

However, with arenas not holding full capacity, perhaps homecourt advantage in the 2021 NBA Playoffs means less than previous seasons. So far, home teams are just 5-11 (31.25%) in the Western Conference Playoffs this season. That's exceptionally lower than the historical number of 65% from 1983 (when the NBA postseason expanded to 16 teams) through 2019.

Obviously, the 2021 postseason has been a small sample size and is skewed by all four games of Dallas-Los Angeles having the road team emerge victorious. But, eliminating the Mavs-Clippers series from the data set, it's still just a 41.6% win percentage for the home team. 

However, Denver has a built-in homecourt advantage from playing in higher elevation than most NBA cities. 

The Trail Blazers are seeking to become the fourth team to win a first round series as the six seed since 2013, joining New Orleans (2018), Brooklyn (2014) and Golden State (2013). All-time, the sixth-seed has defeated the third-seed in a series just 18 times in 74 tries (24.3%). 

Game 5 tips-off on Tuesday, June 1st at 6:00 p.m. PT on NBC Sports NW, the official home of the Portland Trail Blazers.