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Preview: Nuggets look to get back on track against Trail Blazers

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After a 1-3 roadie it’s good to be home

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

After a long and unfulfilling road trip that yielded just a 1-3 record, the Denver Nuggets are back on their home hardwood and looking to gain their footing once again.

A national TV match up against the Portland Trail Blazers might just be what the doctor ordered. Though the Blazers are always a strong team, so far this season they have struggled and sit at just a 10-15 record, the first of those losses coming at the hands of Denver on opening night.

Of course, the biggest development surrounding Portland has been the addition of old friend Carmelo Anthony, who will be making yet another return to his old Nugget stomping grounds. Surprisingly, even eight years since being traded away, Carmelo has still not won a game at Pepsi Center as a member of an opposing team. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The Basics

Who: Portland Trail Blazers (10-15) at Denver Nuggets (14-8)

When: 8:30 PM MST

Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

How to Watch/listen: TNT/Altitude Radio

Rival Blog: Blazer’s Edge

Project Lineups

Position Nuggets Trail Blazers
Position Nuggets Trail Blazers
PG Jamal Murray Damian Lillard
SG Gary Harris CJ McCollum
SF Will Barton III Kent Bazemore
PF Paul Millsap Carmelo Anthony
C Nikola Jokic Hassan Whiteside
Bench Monte Morris, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Michael Porter Jr? Juancho Hernangomez? who knows Anfernee Simons, Mario Hezonja, Skal Labissiere, Nassir Little, Anthony Tolliver

Injury Report: Jamal Murray, questionable (trunk), Paul Millsap, questionable (ankle)

What to Watch

Jamal Murray back. The Nuggets missed Jamal Murray in a big way when he went down just five minutes into Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia. Though officially listed as questionable, Murray posted on Instagram yesterday that he will back for tonight’s game. Even with the team’s offense struggling, Murray is still Denver’s leading scorer at 17.4 ppg and provides a big scoring boost.

Bench Rotation. There is no way to sugarcoat it: the bench has largely been a minus this season. But it’s also kind of a chicken and egg thing with the rotations. They have been so sporadic especially as of late at the three spot that it’s no wonder there hasn’t been consistency in on-court performance. One night it’s Juancho getting minutes, the next it’s Michael Porter Jr. (sort of), Malik Beasley might make a brief appearance. Torrey Craig has all but been eliminated from the rotation. I certainly don’t envy the juggling act Michael Malone has to go through with this roster, but the constant shuffling doesn’t seem to be helping. Also, just play MPJ.

The return of Melo. Say what you want about Carmelo’s departure but it is a good thing to see him back in the league. He’s talented and fun to watch and has been a boon to what had been a woeful Portland team, averaging 15.9 points and shooting 39.5% from three. It will be weird seeing him in a Blazers uniform but awesome to see him play again in Denver.