How Nuggets, Blazers can win Game 7, advance to meet Warriors in Western Conference Finals


SportsPulse: The Nuggets face the Blazers and the Raptors take on the 76ers in a pair of decisive Game 7s. USA TODAY Sport’s Jeff Zillgitt details the stars who must come through for their teams to advance.

A sensational series will come to an end Sunday, as the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers do battle one last time – with a spot in the Western Conference Finals on the line.

The past six games have seen outstanding basketball and tremendous entertainment, not the least of which came during that insane Game 3 and its four overtimes.

It stings a little to realize one of these teams – so closely matched – will be done for the year after just 48 more minutes. Who emerges and takes their place against the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors will need a few things to go right.

USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers examines some of the key factors and figures that will decide Game 7 (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC):

It’s Dame time

Damian Lillard is the most accomplished player in the series and has already shown moments of magic in this postseason. If he is able to get good looks with regularity and gets into his shooting groove, he is nearly unstoppable….

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