Photo / Bruce Ely

Blazers Welcome Nuggets For First Night Of Back-To-Back

by Cody Sharrett

For the first time in 2017-18, the Portland Trail Blazers (16-15) will be without point guard and leading scorer Damian Lillard as they welcome the Northwest Division rival Denver Nuggets (16-15). The two sides have met once already this season, with Portland prevailing, 99-82, at Moda Center on November 13 behind 17 points each from CJ McCollum and former Nugget Jusuf Nurkić. 

Lillard is sidelined with a right hamstring strain suffered in Wednesday home loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Through 31 games this season, Lillard leads the Trail Blazers with 25.2 points per game to go with a team-high 6.4 assists per game. Likely stepping into the starting point guard role, Shabazz Napier 8.0 points in 17.1 minutes of action per game this season, shooting 46.8% from deep. 

  • WATCH: NBC Sports Northwest
  • LISTEN: Rip City Radio 620

The Nuggets also fell Wednesday, losing 112-104 to the Minnesota Timberwolves at home. Guard Gary Harris leads Denver with 16.1 points per game on 38.3% shooting from three-point range. Multi-talented Serbian big man Nikola Jokić is averaging 15.5 points to go with team-highs of 10.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. 

Tipoff for Friday’s game is set for 7 p.m. as Kevin Calabro and Lamar Hurd call the action on NBC Sports Northwest with Brooke Olzendam reporting from courtside. Brian Wheeler has the play-by-play on Rip City Radio 620.