Team Records: Denver (1-4) at Portland (3-3)
Game Info: 6 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -9
Refs: James Capers, Steve Anderson, Sean Corbin
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back from yesterday’s defeat in LA as they take on the reeling Nuggets at home. Denver is coming off an ugly loss to the Cavs in a game where they frankly should not have been close but were let back in late by Cleveland. Portland is looking to continue its dominance over Northwest Division foes, having gone 13-3 over them last year and 1-0 so far this year.
Last Season: Portland swept the season series 4-0. It was Portland’s first sweep of Denver since the 1998-99 season.
Projected Nuggets Lineup:
PF: Kenneth Faried (Morehead State, 4th season) – 10.2 PPG, 9 RPG, 2 APG
SF: Wilson Chandler (DePaul, 8th season) – 10.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1 APG
C: Timofey Mozgov (Russia, 5th season) – 9 PPG, 5 RPG, 0 APG
SG: Arron Afflalo (UCLA, 8th season) – 9.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2 APG
PG: Ty Lawson (North Carolina, 6th season) – 12.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 7.8 APG
Player to Watch: Kenneth Faried (pictured at right) – Known widely as “the Manimal”, Faried is one of my favorite players to watch. Faried is an energetic player, with an amazing ability to sky for rebounds, get up and down the court with ease and finish on the break or off tip ins. Faried showed a fair amount of growth this past season, developing a simple, if effective, post game and generally increasing his offensive shooting on shots not right at the rim. Where Faried is weak is in man to man defense, because although he is a great rebounder he can too often be beaten on that end of the court. Still, almost every team wishes they had a player like Faried, who is, at worst, an NBA starter.
Did You Know?: Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw appeared in one game for the Blazers during the 1998-99 season
Denver: Out-PF Darrell Arthur (Suspension), Questionable-PG Ty Lawson (Ankle), Probable-PG Nate Robinson (Hamstring), SG Gary Harris (Back)
Denver is a fun team to watch, for both the right and wrong reasons. They can be fun to watch for the right reasons when they are flowing on offense and McGee, Hickson and Faried are making plays. However, when things go wrong the Nuggets are fun to watch because they make hilarious mistake after hilarious mistake. In all honesty this looks like a team constructed to win a title in NBA Jam more than the actual NBA. In the past Denver has been able to hang their hat on offense but so far this year they have struggled mightily, only topping 100 points a few times in recent games because of extended garbage time. On defense the Nuggets aren’t going to be great to begin with due to their personnel but their lack of effort makes it even worse. If they try hard on defense, the might be a below average team but so far they are among the league’s worst.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They bury Denver early. This is not a confident Denver team. Bury them early and Denver will likely give up, allowing Portland to cruise to victory.
Denver wins if: They hold Portland under 95 points. Denver has to play good defense if they want a shot at winning. If they can hold Portland under 95, they might get that shot.