No my friends, you aren’t reading that headline wrong and no, that’s not a glitch in The Matrix. It’s just silly NBA scheduling. After playing the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night in Denver, the Denver Nuggets will play the Portland Trail Blazers tonight…in Denver. The random home two step against a lottery bound team does come as a welcome reprieve after the Nuggets fought through a grueling schedule in January. They had little trouble dispatching the Blazers on Friday to the tune of a 120-108 win. While Portland put forward an admirable effort, Nikola Jokic highlighted the clear difference between the two teams on his way to a 27-22-12 triple double. Will it be a repeat tonight or do the Blazers have something else up their sleeve?

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (34-16) vs Portland Trail Blazers (15-34)

When: 6:30PM MST

Where: The Can. Denver, CO.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. Altitude TV where available (Altitude is available on DirecTV, DirecTV stream and Fubo TV). NBA TV. NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5 FM. I don’t know man, when I started coming up with funny ways to get into the arena because Comcast and Altitude couldn’t come to an agreement I never thought the gag would have to go for 3+ seasons.

Rival blog: Blazer’s Edge

The Matchup

Position Nuggets Blazers Advantage
PG Jamal Murray Malcolm Brogdon Nuggets
SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Anfernee Simons Even
SF Michael Porter Jr. Jerami Grant Even
PF Aaron Gordon Jabari Walker Nuggets
C Nikola Jokic DeAndre Ayton Nuggets
Bench Reggie Jackson, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Justin Holiday Matisse Tybulle,Duop Reath, Scoot Henderson, Toumani Camara Even


Injury report: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – probable (finger), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee), Jalen Pickett – out (G-League), Julian Strawther – out (G-League), Hunter Tyson – out (G-League); Jerami Grant – questionable (back), Moses Brown – out (wrist), Shaedon Sharpe – out (abdominal), Robert Williams III – out (knee)

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: Kenny Pope vs Anfernee Simons

KCP went a bit viral for some of his top notch defense on Friday’s game, particularly for a possession where, as Scott Hastings put it, Pope ate Simons’ chili. It was yet another great performance and DPOG for KCP. And yet, when you look at Simons body of work he didn’t have a bad game. He still managed to get 29 points on 23 shots. He still shot 40% from three and he got a handful of assists as well. No doubt Simons heard about his “chili being eaten” so I won’t be surprised if he makes a point of it to go at KCP early in this game. I also think KCP is one of the best defenders in the game so it actually may not matter at all.

The thing to remember: Scoot looks good and Malcolm looks on his way out

Scoot Henderson, the number two overall pick in the draft this past summer, had a great game off the bench against Denver. For the most part, when veteran Malcolm Brogdon is active he gets the nod over Scoot but that may be fixing to change. Brogdon is a high quality veteran player in the prime of his career while Henderson is an exciting young prospect who needs time to grow and realize his potential in the NBA. One of these guys belongs on a 15 win team that is clearly in the middle of a rebuild and it ain’t Malcolm. With the trade deadline just days away, I wonder how many minutes Brogdon is going to continue to see. A team looking to make an addition at the PG spot to bolster their playoff run is likely to be interested in Malcolm who has shown he can be effective both as a starter and coming off the bench. With the Blazers going nowhere fast, they are likely to be highly interested in moving on from Brogdon this week and going all-in on Scoot as their starting PG.

The thing to bet: Nikola Jokic triple double (+160)

Fresh off putting up a huge triple-double on the the Blazers, you can get +160 odds on Jokic doing it again. The danger in this bet is if the Nuggets blow the doors of Portland then Jokic probably sits a ton in the fourth quarter and may not get the minutes to get there. Still, the Nuggets are going to do their thing against the Blazers and that means piling up the stats for Nikola. He also has a pretty strong history of massive games against DeAndre Ayton. At +160 it’s too good to pass up for me.