Portland Trail Blazers (23-27) at Denver Nuggets (34-16)
February 4 2020 - 6:00 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Rodney Hood (out), Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Skal Labissiere (out)
Nuggets injuries: Paul Millsap (out), Michael Porter Jr. (out), Mason Plumlee (out), Bol Bol (out)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW
How to stream: Blazer’s Edge Streaming Guide
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Denver Stiffs
The Portland Trail Blazers travel to take on the Denver Nuggets following a win at home over the Utah Jazz 124-107. Damian Lillard scored 51 points, including nine made 3-pointers, alongside 12 assists. Hassan Whiteside contributed 17 points and 21 rebounds for a double-double. The victory marked the Blazers’ fourth straight win.
The Denver Nuggets welcome the Blazers after an overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons 128-123. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with a triple-double, notching 39 points along with 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Will Barton nearly had a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds. The loss came at the end of a short road trip for the Nuggets.
What to watch for
- Damian Lillard. Coach Terry Stotts says he is “running out of superlatives” to describe Lillard’s play, and so are we. Picture an 18-speed transmission. No. Scratch that. Picture a continuous variable transmission (CVT), which can smoothly transition between any number of gears with high efficiency. That is Damian Lillard right now. It isn’t simply a matter of him having another gear or unlocking another level. The fact is, we have no idea how many levels or gears this guy has—it very well could be infinite.
- The Pink Shoe Shift. Props to Team Mom for coining the term, and if you haven’t, check out her recent Mom’s Favorite, which touches on the improving play of the young guys on the squad. One of the things that makes Portland unique in the league is its lack of a G League franchise, and these guys are getting to watch Damian Lillard torch teams every night instead of serving stints elsewhere. It’s a huge learning experience for them, and it is starting to show.
- Trevor Ariza. There were a lot of questions when Trevor Ariza arrived in Portland. He is a seasoned veteran who once cut down Rudy Fernandez, something many Rip City denizens have had to come to terms with in recent days, largely because Ariza is like the secret sauce that makes everything work a little better. Ariza is averaging 11.4 points and 5.2 rebounds since joining the Blazers. Given his previous numbers in Sacramento, that’s a real improvement for a player on the backend of their career.
What they’re saying
Gage Bridgford of Denver Stiffs has a good breakdown of where the Nuggets struggle.
There is one thing above all else that Denver does not do well, and that is playing uptempo basketball and running in transition. Against the Grizzlies, they were just getting ran past every time up the floor. The game ended with them being down by just eight, but the game never seemed that close. The Grizzlies led by as many as 19, and it seemed for much of the night that they were up even more than that.