Team Records: Portland (33-46) at Denver (54-25)
Game Info: 2 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM
Vegas Line: Denver -14
Refs: Monty McCutchen, Derrick Collins, Kevin Fehr
The Skinny: The Blazers begin their final road trip of the season in perhaps the most difficult place to win in the entire NBA, Denver. Fresh off yet another loss, the Blazers must now face a Nuggets squad that has won 21 straight home games and last lost at home on January 18 to the Wizards of all teams. Denver needs a win to maintain control of the #3 seed.
Last Time They Met: Andre Miller got the last laugh in Portland as he nailed a big shot to give Denver the lead late as they held on for a rare road win for a team in this series.
Projected Nuggets Lineup:
PF: Kenneth Faried (Morehead State, 2nd season) – 11.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1 APG
SF: Wilson Chandler (DePaul, 5th season) – 12.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.3 APG
C: Kosta Koufos (Ohio State, 5th season) – 8 PPG, 6.9 RPG, .4 APG
SG: Andre Iguodala (Arizona, 9th season) – 12.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.4 APG
PG: Andre Miller (Utah, 14th season) – 9.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 6 APG
Player to Watch: Andre Miller (pictured below) – Every year it seems people wonder how long Andre Miller can keep his career going at the same level and every year he just keeps plodding along, doing good things. This year is no exception as Andre Miller is never going to light the NBA on fire but he’s going to be there, making crazy ally oop passes and providing solid plays at both ends of the court. With Lawson coming back from an injury, having a player like Andre Miller will help the Nuggets greatly as they approach and enter the playoffs.
Did You Know?: Portland head coach Terry Stotts began his coaching career under George Karl as an assistant with the Albany Patroons of the CBA in 1990-91.
Song of the Day: “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Ozbourne-In honor of JaVale McGee being a crazy yet fun to watch player for the Nuggets. Enjoy:
Portland: Out – SG Elliott Williams (Achilles), SF Nicolas Batum (Shoulder), Questionable-SG Wesley Matthews (Ankle).
Denver: Out-SF Danilo Gallinari (ACL), PG Julyan Stone (Knee), Questionable-PG Ty Lawson (Plantar Fascitis).
Re-Evaluating Denver: Home Court May Not be Needed for These Nuggets
You’d think a veteran team like Denver might well be able to win a series even if they don’t have home court. In Denver’s case that might actually be correct because, despite their dominance at home, they have done a good job beating good teams on the road. Denver has wins over most of the West’s playoff teams this season, including two over possible first round opponent Houston. So if Denver can manage to steal one game on the road, given how strong they are at home, they have a chance at beating anyone in the playoffs this year.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They limit Denver’s fast break points. Denver loves to run out on the break and Portland has had a hard time stopping that at times this year. If they can limit Denver to a half-court offense, they will stand a strong chance of winning.
Denver wins if: They score at least 100 points. Denver is the sort of team that can simply outscore you. If the Nuggets hit the century mark, that will almost certainly be enough to secure Denver a win.