Team Records: Portland (5-3) at Denver (1-5)
Game Info: 6 p.m., TV on KGW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Denver -3
Refs: Ken Mauer, Mark Lindsay, JT Orr
The Skinny: Fresh off a thrilling come from behind victory Tuesday, the Blazers look to make it three wins in four nights as they face the Nuggets for the second time this week, albeit this time on the road. Denver has not played since their loss in Portland on Sunday. Portland is looking for its sixth straight win over the Nuggets, a feat not seen since the late 90s/early 2000s.
Last Time They Met: Portland controlled the game all night and registered a very business-like 16-point win. Denver was led by Lawson, who had 18 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds while Aldridge led the way for Portland with 29 points and 9 rebounds.
Projected Nuggets Lineup:
PF: Kenneth Faried (Morehead State, 4th season) – 11.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.8 APG
SF: Wilson Chandler (DePaul, 8th season) – 9.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.2 APG
C: Timofey Mozgov (Russia, 5th season) – 8.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0 APG
SG: Arron Afflalo (UCLA, 8th season) – 10.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.7 APG
PG: Ty Lawson (North Carolina, 6th season) – 13.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 7.8 APG
Player to Watch: Ty Lawson (pictured at right) – In a 2009 draft loaded with quality point guards, Lawson was perhaps the best steal of the draft. The sixth point guard selected (in a first round that featured ten point guards), Lawson has proven to be every bit the player many thought he was at North Carolina. A lightning fast guard with the ability to both slash to the hoop and hit the outside shot, Lawson can be devastatingly effective on the offensive end. He is a decent defender but standing only 5’-11” can sometimes be overwhelmed by bigger players. Still, he appears to be a budding star and one that we should not be surprised to see in the all-star game a few times before his career is done.
Did You Know?: The Blazers-Nuggets series has been dominated by the home team. Portland is 62-20 at home against Denver, while only 25-54 on the road in Denver.
Portland: Out-SF Nicolas Batum (Knee)
Song of the Day: “Kaya” by Bob Marley. In honor of the drug now legal in Colorado and soon to be in Oregon, you have to go with some Bob Marley. Enjoy:
Re-Evaluating Denver: A Chef’s Nightmare
Anyone who has ever cooked more than a few things has experienced that horrible moment when you want to make something, you look in the pantry and you find a whole mess of mismatched ingredients. You try to make something, and sure its unique but more often than not its an experiment gone terribly terribly wrong. Such is the case for the Denver Nuggets. They weren’t all that well put together to begin with and last offseason didn’t much help (although Afflalo is a nice touch). They have a motley collection of players that do one thing, at most, well, and a shockingly large number of players with next to no basketball IQ (most notably JaVale McGee). Brian Shaw might not be the greatest coach but he’s not exactly been given a fair shot here. It is indeed a chef’s nightmare, or more accurately a coach’s nightmare, for the Nuggets.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They don’t get caught in a close game late. Portland is playing their fourth game in five nights and especially without Batum and after Tuesday’s come from behind win, they will not likely succeed if they get caught in a close game late with a much better rested Nuggets team, especially at altitude.
Denver wins if: They limit Portland’s 3 point shooting. The Nuggets allowed the Blazers to make 16 threes in Sunday’s game. They have to do much better if they want to end their losing streak against the Blazers.