Team Records: Portland (13-4) at Denver (9-8)
Game Info: 6 p.m., TV on KGW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -3
Refs: Bill Spooner, Bennie Adams, Derek Richardson
The Skinny: The Blazers look to notch their third win of the year already against the Nuggets at they face off Tuesday in Denver. Since the two teams last met, Denver has gone 7-2 and is coming off a narrow win in Utah Monday night. The Blazers are looking for their seventh straight win over Denver, three short of the all-time team record for consecutive wins over the Nuggets, set in the mid 90s.
Last Time They Met: Portland scored 84 first half points en route to a rout in Denver. Portland made 16 3s in the win and Lillard led the way with 27 points.
Projected Nuggets Lineup:
PF: Kenneth Faried (Morehead State, 4th season) – 11.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.1 APG
SF: Wilson Chandler (DePaul, 8th season) – 12.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.4 APG
C: Timofey Mozgov (Russia, 5th season) – 10 PPG, 7.5 RPG, .4 APG
SG: Arron Afflalo (UCLA, 8th season) – 14.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.6 APG
PG: Ty Lawson (North Carolina, 6th season) – 16.3 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 10 APG
Player to Watch: Arron Afflalo (pictured at right) – They say you can’t go home again but Afflalo certainly went back to Denver two years after being traded to Orlando. He is a dangerous outside shooter with a good ability to create his own shot. In Denver’s recent upswing, he is really picking up his offensive game, playing a key role in Denver’s resurgence. He also has as strong a post game as any guard in the league and can use it to great effect against many opponents. Afflalo has a reputation as a defensive stopper but it is not backed up by the relevant statistics. He might be a good defender, and indeed he probably is, but he is not the defensive star many make him out to be. Still, Afflalo is a key part of Denver’s team this year, in his second go-around with the squad.
Did You Know?: On November 3 vs. Sacramento, JaVale McGee became the only player in NBA history to record 16+ points, 4+ rebounds and 4+ blocks in 14 minutes-or-fewer.
Portland: Out-PG CJ McCollum (Finger), SG Will Barton (Illness)
Denver: Out-SG Randy Foye (Quad)
Song of the Day: “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver. The signature song of the state of Colorado. Enjoy:
Re-Evaluating Denver: Finding Their Groove
Since the Blazers embarrassed them the last time the two teams faced off, Denver has not fallen apart as many predicted. Instead, they have found their groove and taken off. Denver is 7-2 since that horrible night for them at home. Their defense is allowing ten less points per game while their offense is scoring eight more points per game and finding success, especially from outside. It seems that this Denver squad indeed has hope for a playoff run. Tonight represents a good measuring stick of how far they’ve come against the team that sent them to one of their worst defeats in a long time.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: They make their 3s. Denver has struggled to defend the three point line in both games vs. Portland this year. If the Blazers hit their outside shots they will win.
Denver wins if: They hold Portland under 90 points. Denver may be playing better but Portland is a bad matchup for them. If they want to win they need to hold the Blazers well below their typical offensive output.