Portland Trail Blazer vs. Denver Nuggets Matchup Preview
This is a crucial game for both teams in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies lost yesterday and a win for Portland would tie them for the eighth seed. Denver is also just a half-game back of the Clippers for the second seed. Both have everything to play for and this should be a fun game to watch with Nikola Jokic and Damian Lillard leading their teams. Oddsmakers have factored in Jusuf Nurkic returning and the injuries to the Denver backcourt and have given them a four-point spread tonight. It is expected to be a high scoring game as it is sitting at 231.5. Lillard is the season leader in points among the two teams, averaging 28.8 per game on the year. He is also averaging eight assists per game. There is no surprise seeing Jokic leading the Nuggets in points, rebounds, and assists. While two out of the three games have been blowouts, tonight should be different.
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Arena: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Kissimmee, FL
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Trail Blazers Starting 5
Trail Blazers Analysis
Over the first three games of the bubble, Portland ranks 4th in defensive efficiency and have also scored 124.7 points per game. Gary Trent Jr. has been on fire from three and is a big reason for the Trail Blazers 42% three-point percentage so far as well. Rebounding wasn’t an issue, but they remain a top rebounding team and have also averaged the most blocks per game. Before the break the Trail Blazers defense was extremely suspect. While they have had some higher scoring games in the restart they should be able to tame a Denver offense that is missing Harris, Barton, Murray, and Millsap tonight. While Jokic is a tough task they do have bodies to throw at home down low.
Nuggets Starting 5
The Denver Nuggets have had their moments so far in the restart, but have battled injuries and it shows int he backcourt. Offensively everything continues to flow through Nikola Jokic and his numbers continue to be stellar. Denver is producing 119 points per game so far in the restart, and have led the league in assists since the bubble started. The Nuggets haven’t shot the ball very well from three since the restart which is scary given how much they have produced on offense. Denver has struggled on the defensive side allowing over 120 points per game so far. Not a big surprise given the injuries and also the teams they have played. They will have a tough task against this Portland offense that now has Nurkic back.
Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Fantasy Basketball Angle
It is a great spot for the Trail Blazers backcourt and Damian Lillard continues to be the big name putting up big points. Under $10,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, I would look his way at point guard. There is enough value on the slate to put others in with him. Jusuf Nurkic has been unreal since the restart. Those two I have the most interest in from the Portland side. Denver’s going to be a value team given the injuries. Michael Porter Jr has scored over 30 real points in each of the last two games but the price has come up quite a bit. Monte Morris is a cheap point guard value who will fill in for Jamal Murray. Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Jamal Murray are all ruled out for tonight.
Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Betting Odds
Trail Blazers Odds: -162
Nuggets Odds: +135
Spread: POR -4
The Trail Blazers come into tonight on a mission and have been playing like it. Jusuf Nurkic has been a big piece of the puzzle for their recent success and will take on his former team tonight. Public money is on the over and the Portland spread. Portland has won the last three against the Trail Blazers and it hasn’t been close. However, you can’t take the historical data here with Nurkic back and the Denver injury report loaded with guys out. Given the circumstances, Portland is the team I like this evening, especially in a must-win game for them and at full health.
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