Team Records: Portland (0-1) at Denver (0-1)
Game Info: 6 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Denver -5
Refs: Danny Crawford, Eric Lewis, Kevin Scott
The Skinny: The Blazers look to bounce back from a disappointing start as they travel to Denver, a place they last won at in 2009. The Nuggets will be looking for redemption of their own as a monster game by Cousins buried their hopes of starting the season with a road win in Sacramento.
Last Season: Denver won the season series 3-1, Denver has won nine straight against the Blazers in the Mile High City.
Projected Nuggets Lineup:
PF: JJ Hickson (NC State, 6th season) – 12 PPG, 9 RPG, 0 APG
SF: Antony Randolph (LSU, 6th season) – 2 PPG, 2 RPG, 0 APG
C: JaVale McGee (Nevada, 6th season) – 4 PPG, 1 RPG, 0 APG
SG: Randy Foye (Villanova, 8th season) – 12 PPG, 5 RPG, 1 APG
PG: Ty Lawson (North Carolina, 5th season) – 20 PPG, 5 RPG, 8 APG
Player to Watch: JaVale McGee (pictured below) – JaVale McGee is a fun player to watch, there is no doubt about that. McGee is a highlight machine on both offense and defense, slamming down incredible dunks and blocking shots into the 20th row. Unfortunately, it is a lot more style than substance for JaVale. He is as likely, if not more so, to make a foolish play than an exciting one. His offense and defense are both filled with holes. Still, he at least ensures Denver remains watchable even if the team struggles.
Did You Know?: Denver closed out last season with 23 straight regular season home wins, a team record.
Portland: Out – PG CJ McCollum (Foot), Questionable-PG Earl Watson (Calf)
Denver: Out-SF Danilo Gallinari (ACL), SF Wilson Chandler (Hamstring).
It remains to be seen what this new Denver squad will be like under first-time head coach Brian Shaw. Gone is Iggy and Koufos and Faried may on the way out as well. Denver made the decision to reload, if not entirely rebuild, after last year and its hard to get too much of a read on them after one game. You can expect them to be adept at passing the ball, although they turned it over 18 times in their loss in Sacramento. They probably won’t shoot a lot of 3s, and their offense and defense are still a work in progress. Well, at least with Hickson and McGee, they’ll be fun to watch if nothing else.
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. Portland has to play better defense if they want to win. If the Nuggets hit the century mark, that will almost certainly be enough to secure Denver a win.