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.
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
|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.