When: 8 p.m. MST
Where: Portland, Oregon (Moda Center)
Watch/Listen: Altitude Sports and Altitude AM 950
The Denver Nuggets will put their three game winning streak on the line Monday night when they take on division rival, the Portland Trail Blazers.
Denver is looking to build off an incredible home stand in which they finished 5-1 and only suffered one loss at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. The Nuggets are riding high after huge victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder last Thursday night, and the Orlando Magic last Saturday. Point guard Jamal Murray is coming off a career high 32 point game against the Magic, and will hope to stay hot Monday night against the Blazers.
Portland currently has a record of 6-6 and are third in the Northwest Division, while the Nuggets are 8-5 and are in first place in the Northwest Division. The last time these two teams played was last season on March 28th when the Blazers beat the Nuggets 122-113, and took a two game lead over the Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot. That game pretty much put the Nuggets playoff chances out of reach and ended up being the Jusuf Nurkic revenge game. Nurkic played out of his mind and scored 33 points and brought down 15 rebounds. The game ultimately formed a lot of animosity between the two teams because of how high the stakes were and Nurkic playing great against his former team.
Nurkic is currently averaging 15.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Blazers are led in scoring by Damian Lillard at 25.2 points per game, and CJ McCollum at 22.9 points per game. Those three are players the Nuggets will have to stop on Thursday night, and they may have to do it without one of their best defenders. Nuggets starting guard Gary Harris is questionable with a shoulder injury and missed the Nuggets last game against the Magic. Harris did a great job shutting down Russell Westbrook in the Nuggets match-up against the Thunder, and would give the Nuggets a huge advantage in trying to shut down both Lillard and McCollum.
Nikola Jokic still leads the Nuggets in all three major statistical categories and is currently averaging 17.2 points, 12 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. Paul Millsap is second on the team in points at 15.5 points per game and leads the team in blocks at 1.3 per game. Sixth man of the Year candidate Will Barton is third on the team in points at 15.1 points per game and did a great job filling in for Gary Harris last Saturday against the Magic. Barton posted his best game of the season scoring 26 points, corralling nine rebounds, and even dished out five assists.
This is another big game for the Nuggets and another nice test here early in the season. Portland is currently one of the teams chasing the Nuggets atop the division and the Nuggets are looking for some revenge after a tough loss at the hands of the Trail Blazers late last season. The Nuggets have three days off after this game and won’t play again till Friday at home against the Pelicans. Hopefully that gives the team a little more energy to play with, knowing that they’ll have some off days coming after a tough division game.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage.