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Nuggets limp into Portland seeking upset over Trail Blazers

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Ty Lawson is questionable with a sore ankle as Denver desperately scratches for their second victory tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Ty Lawson stumbles to the floor against the Trail Blazers
Ty Lawson stumbles to the floor against the Trail Blazers
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo
Game 6: 2014-15 NBA Season
Denver Nuggets (2009 - Pres)
@

Portland Trail Blazers (2005 - Pres)

1-4 (0-2 on road)
Series 0-0
3-3 (3-1 at home)
Nov. 9, 2014
Moda Center - Portland, Oregon
7:00 PM MT
Altitude / 950 AM

Ty Lawson PG Damian Lillard
Arron Afflalo SG Wesley Matthews
Wilson Chandler
SF Nicolas Batum
Kenneth Faried PF LaMarcus Aldridge
Timofey Mozgov C Robin Lopez
Notes
Um... You are already here... 
Blogs Blazers Edge
Ty Lawson - Questionable (sore ankle), Nate Robinson - Probable (strained hamstring) Injuries None

Denver finished 0-4 against Portland last season.

Etc...

In the Blazers' first season, Jim Barnett swished a long jump shot, what would be a present day 3-pointer and play-by-play man Bill Schonely exclaied "Rip City – all right!"  Rip City has been a nickname for Portland ever since.

We've only just begun...

Five games into a season is too small a sample size to project accurate final season standings.  The Nuggets are not likely to be racing the Lakers and 76ers to the bottom of the Lottery pool, just as the Sacramento Kings are unlikely to be competing for home court advantage come April.  That being said, seeing is believing and what I see in Denver is a team promoting itself as "defense first" if only because they are too obviously an "offense last" kind of team.  Denver can only boast of a better shooting percentage over one other NBA team.  That team is the Detroit Pistons, against whom Denver claims it's only victory.

(They long to be) Close to you

Denver has been outscored 126-78 in the first quarter over the last four games.  If Denver is going to compete in this game, they cannot afford to dig a deep hole against a quality opponent on the road.  Champion thoroughbred  racehorse Seabiscuit would trail early in races, but once he saw the back end of the other horses he was inspired to run faster and won many races that way.  Good for Seabiscuit, but the Nuggets' play in quarters 2, 3 and 4 are not the stuff of Oscar nominations.  If Denver can remain within at least 5 points of Portland after the first quarter, let's mark the checklist for progress.

Superstar

LaMarcus Aldridge will present the biggest test this Denver post defense will face all season.  Kenneth Faried is not known for his defensive footwork and Aldridge will eat him for breakfast if Manimal is focused on the task at hand.  Portland Leads the NBA in rebounding.  The Denver bigs must fight for position when shots go up.  Too many second chances allowed by giving up offensive rebounds will sink this Nuggets team.

Nuggets must be carpenters

In order to craft a quality road victory, the Denver Nuggets must get their hands dirty on the glass and fortify their low post defense against a formidable opponent.  A workman-like effort all around will be necessary to demolish Portland's confidence on offense.  Portland overachieved last season and if Denver is to take the mantle of Western Conference Surprise Team, it must start with a signature victory tonight in Portland to build a foundation of success.

Prediction

105-101 Denver