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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets Preview

The Blazers face a tough matchup against the Denver Nuggets at Moda.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (25-35) vs Denver Nuggets (35-25)

The Portland Trail Blazers will finish up their short two game home stand against against the Denver Nuggets. The Blazers have their eyes firmly on the lottery at this point, while the Nuggets are looking up the standings with ambition. Winner of five in a row and seven of their last eight, Denver is playing well and dreaming of the day when they are playing with all of their weapons. Make no mistake though, injuries aren’t preventing the Nuggets from being a very good team right now. If you need a reminder, last time these two team met in January, Denver won by 32.

Sunday, February 27- 6:00 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Nassir Little (out), Eric Bledsoe (out), Didi Louzada (out), Joe Ingles (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Justise Winslow (out)
Nuggets injuries: Vlatko Cancar (out), Michael Porter Jr. (out), Jamal Murray (out), Zeke Nnaji (questionable)
SBN Affiliate: Denver Stiffs

What To Watch For

  • Nikola Jokic. 26 points. 13.8 rebounds. 57% from the field. 37% from deep. If those stats weren’t enough, Jokic has a height advantage over anyone the Blazers can put on the court. The Blazers have a tough time slowing Jokic down in the best of times. Without Nurkic it’s going to be a nigh impossibility. Youthful energy and determination can go a long way, but there are definite limits.
  • Advantage at the free throw line. Surprisingly, Denver is tied for 29th in the NBA at getting to the free throw line at 19.1 attempts per game. Over the last three games, the Blazers have averaged 26.7 attempts per game. That’s a substantial difference. Will it determine the outcome of the game? Probably not, but hey, you never know.

Note: Justise Winslow was ruled out after the preview was written.

  • Justise Winslow. There probably weren’t a lot of Blazers fans doing a happy dance when it was announced that Winslow was coming to the Rose City in the Powell/Covington trade. Nevertheless, Winslow has been really good for the Blazers. Averaging 12.3 points and 6.6 rebounds a game, he’s played with energy and enthusiasm. As one of the players more likely to stick around after this season, it’s been fun to see him play hard and play well. Expect another good effort against Denver.

What Others Are Saying

Why do the Denver Nuggets have the worst local TV ratings in the NBA? Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports has the simple answer.

First and foremost, the biggest reason for the Nuggets’ low ratings is the simple fact that many cable subscribers can’t actually watch the games. Altitude TV, which carries Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche games, is in its third straight year of being blacked out on Comcast and Dish Network.

When DirecTV subscribers are the only people who can actually turn on Nuggets games, that’s going to hurt ratings.

The All-Star break came at a great time for the Nuggets, and now they are ready for the rest of the season according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

Jokic re-charged with his family. Barton did the same in his comfort zone – the gym. Having won four in a row and six of their last seven entering Saturday’s game against the Kings, the Nuggets are beginning to surge. With only 23 games to go, the end of the regular season is approaching and things are, finally, starting to trend in Denver’s direction.

Brandon Ewing of Denver Stiffs writes that Will Barton could be a difference-maker in the playoffs.

You could definitely argue the Sacramento game was Barton’s best performance of the season, but it could also be argued that he’s putting together a more solid season than he’s been given credit for. Barton is averaging just a tick under his career-high in points per game (15.5), which he set back in the 2017-18 season when he averaged 15.7 point a game.