Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Preview
In a Western Conference clash tonight, the Denver Nuggets will host the Portland Trail Blazers in a game which could change playoff seeding with just three games remaining on the schedule.
The Nuggets seem to be locked into the second seed with two games separating them and the Golden State Warriors, and they have a 1.5-game advantage over the Houston Rockets. The Nuggets are 52-26 on the season, have won their last game and are 6-4 in their last 10. The Trail Blazers, who are without starters CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic are 50-28 on the season. They have a two-game advantage for fourth place in the West over the Utah Jazz but are just a half-game behind the Rockets. Portland has won their last two games and are 8-2 in their last 10.
In the last matchup between the Trail Blazers and Nuggets on January 13, the Nuggets won 116-113. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets in the game with 40 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, while Damian Lillard had 26 points and seven assists.
Time: 10:30pm ET
Arena: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
Portland Trail Blazers Starting Lineup
The Portland Trail Blazers may be sidelined with injuries to some key players, but they seem to be hitting their momentum at the right time, winning eight of their last nine games and reaching 50 wins with four games left on their schedule.
“I told the team 50 wins has always been a benchmark in this league. If you’re a 50-win team, I think that really speaks a lot about what you’ve done in the regular season and the success you’ve had,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I think we should all be very proud of what we’ve done so far this year.”
Before beginning their home-and-home with the Nuggets tonight, the Blazers absolutely routed the Memphis Grizzlies 116-89 on Wednesday night. With Nurkic out, Enes Kanter has played well since taking over as a starter. He had 21 points and 15 rebounds in just 26 minutes. Damian Lillard had 20 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in the win, almost getting the triple-double.
One player that actually got a triple-double did so in interesting fashion. Evan Turner had his trip dub off the bench and in just 28 minutes of playing time as he totaled 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
While the Denver Nuggets seemed outclassed on Tuesday night against the Denver Nuggets, they came back the next night and delivered a big 113-85 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
For the Nuggets, this is not a new trend as they have done very well on the back end of back-to-backs this season.
“I’ve been on a lot of really good basketball teams, part of really good basketball teams, and I’ve never seen a team go 11-1 on the second night of a back-to-back,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. “That’s an incredible stat for us.”
The Nuggets erupted for 33 points in the second quarter as they limited the Spurs to just 19 points and they outscored them in all four quarters to secure the win that pushed the Spurs into the eighth spot in the West.
Nikola Jokic seems to be Mr. Almost Triple Double this season as he had 20 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the win. Monte Morris and Malik Beasley, as they have done plenty of lately, have contributed well off the bench. They had 19 points apiece in the win, and Jamal Murray had 14 points and 11 assists.
Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Betting Odds
The Nuggets are 6.5-point favorites to win tonight’s game at home. They have done well to protect home court, with a 32-7 record at Pepsi Center, and they are 43-14 as the favorite. The Trail Blazers are 20-19 on the road and 11-17 as the underdog.
The over/under is 214 points and the Nuggets are -260 on the moneyline.
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