The Portland Trail Blazers are set to take on the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. It should be a solid matchup as both teams tend to play well against each other. This series will have a plethora of star power as well, as Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Jusuf Nurkic will battle it out with Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Aaron Gordon.

Although the Trail Blazers are the sixth seed, Portland has as good a chance as any to pull off an upset. This team is much better than where they finished and are relatively healthy. With Lillard leading the way anything is possible, however, Portland does have a few advantages heading into this matchup. Here are three reasons why the Portland Trail Blazers will beat the Denver Nuggets in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

The advantage in the backcourt

Lillard and McCollum make up one of the best backcourts in the league. After acquiring Norman Powell in a trade, the guard play has been through the roof in Portland. Jamal Murray fell to a season-ending injury, leaving the Nuggets prone at the point guard position.

It's still unclear whether Will Barton will be ready to play by game one, which could leave Denver with Facundo Campazzo, Monte Morris, Markus Howard, and Austin Rivers having to guard Lillard, McCollum, and Powell. If that's the case, Portland's guards will be lighting it up throughout the series.

Portland's three-point shooting

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The Trail Blazers finished with the sixth-best three-point percentage in the league this year, shooting 38.5% from beyond the arch. Damian “Logo” Lillard didn't earn that nickname just because it sounds cool. Terry Stotts has created an offense that allows the players to shoot at will and they've been extremely efficient all year.

Nearly everyone on the roster can shoot from three, which gives them a huge advantage over the Nuggets. Denver's strength is in the post, so if Portland can strike from the perimeter the Nuggets could be going home earlier than expected.

Jusuf Nurkic matches up well with Nikola Jokic

It's no secret that Nikola Jokic is one of the best centers in the league. However, Jusuf Nurkic is no bum. He's faced some adversity lately overcoming a leg injury but has been able to average 11.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game this year. Nurkic has played a vital role in recent months, boosting Portland's presence down low.

This is a tough matchup for Nurkic, as Jokic can do anything he wants with the ball. The offense runs through him, which means Nurkic must excel on defense during this series. Luckily for the Trail Blazers, their star center has a history of playing well against Denver's best player. According to the Land of Basketball, Nurkic and Jokic have squared off 10 times in their careers. Jokic tends to play better, but Nurkic isn't too far behind him when they play against each other.

If Portland hopes to move onto the second round of the NBA Playoffs, they'll have to step up and outplay the Denver Nuggets. A task much easier said than done. But, if Portland can take advantage of the mismatches and contain Nikola Jokic a bit, they should walk away victorious.