The NBA is filled with excitement for Friday night as eleven matchups are up on the board. There are plenty of great games to choose from throughout the night. One of those matchups will be two top teams in the Western Conference in the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers. The game will be on ESPN at 10:30 Eastern to finish out a busy night of basketball.
Denver has jumped out to a 14-7 start this season, which has them sitting in third place of the Western Conference this season. The Nuggets have won their last four games in a row. Before their four-game winning streak, Denver had lost six of their last seven. The Nuggets are a pretty streaky team right now, so Denver will look to keep the winning streak going on Friday night.
The Trail Blazers have jumped out to a solid start this season. Portland is currently 13-8, which has them in fifth place of the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers won their last game against the Orlando Magic to end a three-game losing streak. Portland will look to turn this into a winning streak with a win at home against the Nuggets.
This matchup will mark the first game between the Nuggets and the Trail Blazers this season. Denver and Portland will meet three more times this season on January 13, April 5 and April 7. Both teams will look to jump out to a 1-0 start in the season series. I believe that this is a setup for a good game.
Last Season’s Matchups
The Nuggets and the Trail Blazers met up a total of four times last season. Portland hosted the first matchup between these two teams. Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap each dropped 18 points for Denver, but it was not enough. Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic combined for 49 points, which helped lead the Trail Blazers to a 99-82 win.
The second game of the season series stayed in Portland. C.J. McCollum was the leading scorer for the Trail Blazers with 15, while Shabazz Napier dropped another 14 off the bench. Nikola Jokic dropped 27 points for Denver. Wilson Chandler scored another 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in route to a 102-85 win.
Denver hosted the third game of the season series. Damian Lillard came out with a mission as he dropped 25 points and had 8 assists. Jusuf Nurkic had a solid performance scoring another 19 points and added 12 rebounds, but it was not enough. Jamal Murray could not be stopped as he put up 38 on the Trail Blazers. The Nuggets were able to sneak away with a 104-101 win at home.
The final game of the season was hosted by the Nuggets. Just like the game before, Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic both had big games. Lillard scored 25 points, while Nurkic dropped 20 points and pulled down 19 rebounds. Will Barton had 22 points for Denver. Nikola Jokic had a triple-double with 15 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists. Once again, the Nuggets won a close one at home, 88-82.
Denver was able to win the last three games of the season series to win the series 3-1. The Nuggets barely missed out on the playoffs last season, finishing in ninth place of the Western Conference. Portland finished in third place of the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers will look to get back at Denver with a win on Friday night.
Denver has seen a lot of players put up solid averages to start out the season. Jamal Murray leading the team in points per game with an average of 17.5. Gary Harris is averaging about 17 points per game, but he could miss Friday night’s game with an ankle injury. Nikola Jokic is averaging 16 points, 7 assists and 10 rebounds per game.
The Trail Blazers have been led by their pair of Guards. Damian Lillard is averaging 27 points and 6 assists per game to start out the new season. C.J. McCollum has dropped an average of 21 points per game. Jusuf Nurkic has done a solid job holding down the paint at the Center position. Nurkic is averaging 15 points per game and 10.5 rebounds this season.
I believe that these two teams match really well on paper. Both teams have a good pair of Guards to run the backcourt. Each team also has a really good starting Center. Jokic versus Nurkic in the paint should be a really exciting matchup to watch. Both big men play similar games and will look to give their team the advantage in the paint. The big question mark in this game is Gary Harris’ health. If Harris is missing, McCollum could take advantage and put up big numbers.
Denver is coming into Friday night’s game with a solid winning streak, but I believe the Trail Blazers have a good chance to end it. Portland has struggled recently, but they broke out with a win against Orlando, which could spark them into a winning streak. The Trail Blazers are also looking to get a little revenge after the Nuggets took the last three games of last season’s series.
BetOnline has Portland listed as a -2 ½ against the spread. I believe that this is a reasonable spread, especially with the Trail Blazers at home. I expect this game to be a tightly contested matchup, but I believe that Portland will take it in the end. The spread is not super hard to cover, especially if the Trail Blazers find themselves with the lead late. I am taking Portland at home.