The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers square off at the Moda Center on Wednesday night in Portland. The Trail Blazers are on a back-to-back after CJ McCollum missed at the buzzer last night. Paul George and the Clippers erased a 112-107 deficit with a minute remaining on the clock. A three ball to go up 5 points wasn’t enough for the Trail Blazers, who had a tough loss against the Clippers minus Kawhi Leonard.
George smoothly knocked down two free throws with under 5 seconds remaining on the clock to go ahead 113-112. While the Clippers were without Kawhi, the Blazers were without Damian Lillard. Dame is expected to make his return to the starting lineup after missing three games this evening. It would come at the perfect moment with a dangerous Nuggets team in town. The Trail Blazers went 1-2 with Lillard out of the lineup.
They barely made it past the San Antonio Spurs, 107-106, suffered a bad loss in Charlotte, and then the tough loss against the Clippers last night. You want to say that was a “good” loss, but the Trail Blazers can’t have any moral losses now. The Blazers might have been without Lillard, but the Clippers were absent Kawhi, so the key injuries sort of washed each other out.
I will say, though, that the Blazers didn’t have a player like George on their team. McCollum is good, but the difference was an active PG. The Trail Blazers must turn around and be on the court again tonight. There isn’t any night off for the Blazers, as they will welcome the Nuggets on Wednesday night. The Nuggets are coming off a close call against the Memphis Grizzlies at home on Monday in a 139-137 win in overtime.
They had to claw back in that game to beat a Grizzlies team that was without Jonas Valaciunas with a concussion. Nikola Jokic had his say with 47 points and 15 points, as the paint was wide open. However, the Grizzlies’ offense played better than expected. With a fresh Lillard likely back for the Trail Blazers, the Nuggets need more of an effort. Head below for our free Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers pick on April 21, 2021.
Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA Betting Odds:
Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers Prediction:
The Trail Blazers had a fine performance last night without Damian Lillard active. However, if he was, the Trail Blazers probably have the extra gear in them to pull away from the Clippers. They led most of that game, but just couldn’t completely pull away, and allowed the Clippers to hang around. CJ McCollum had 28 points while Norman Powell chipped in with 23 points. I’m confident that Dame would have put them over the top in that contest.
If anything, it was a nice defensive performance for the Blazers. Even though Kawhi Leonard was absent, holding the Clippers to 114 points was a respectable performance. Portland has struggled on defense this season, as they’ve conceded 114.6 points per game for 25th in the NBA. Opponents are shooting 47.9% against the Trail Blazers this season. This is going to be a monster challenge for Jusuf Nurkic who took last night off for rest.
He must find a way to contain Jokic, but that doesn’t come easy. The Nuggets are fourth in the NBA with 115.7 points scored per game. They are third with a field goal percentage of 48.9%. The Nuggets can work from the inside or outside, as they’ve connected for a 38.5% from deep for fifth in the league. It took them a minute to get their offense in order without Jamal Murray on the floor, but they’ve been in nice form recently. Even without overtime against the Grizzlies, the Nuggets have recorded at least 120 points in their previous three outings.
I don’t foresee the Trail Blazers keeping this game with their defense, they are likely going to have to come out firing with their sharpshooters. The point spread in this one is a bit on the fishy side. You would think the Nuggets would be a bigger favorite against the Blazers, who are coming off a physical game against the Clippers last night. However, the Nuggets are just less than a field goal favorite in Portland. The presence of Lillard certainly and a rested Nurkic certainly gives the Blazers a chance. I think a 116-113 game to go OVER the total looks about right.