Game Preview: Blazers-Nuggets

Denver faces Northwest Division rival Portland for second time in five days
by Aaron Lopez

It's been 15 years since the Portland Trail Blazers swept the season series against the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets have their work cut out for them as they try to keep the streak intact.

In the midst of a forgettable three-week stretch, Denver (25-32) looks to bounce back from a 23-point home loss to Brooklyn when they face the Blazers (40-18) in Portland on Saturday night.

"If we're men, we'll respond with more effort," Nuggets point guard Aaron Brooks said "Defensive effort and playing hard is what the fans deserve and what we, as professionals, should do."

Denver has lost all three games against Portland this season, including a five-point defeat at Pepsi Center earlier this week. J.J. Hickson had a career-high 25 rebounds for the Nuggets in that game, but the Blazers prevailed behind Damian Lillard's 31 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

While the Nuggets remain shorthanded without Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee and Nate Robinson, Portland could get All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge back Saturday night. Aldridge has missed the past five games with a groin injury.


WHEN: 8 p.m. MT
WHERE: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (25-31)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C Timofey Mozgov
G Randy Foye
G Aaron Brooks

PORTLAND (40-18)
F Nicolas Batum
F Dorell Wright
C Robin Lopez
G Wesley Matthews
G Damian Lillard

Darrell Arthur (hip) is probable; Chandler (knee) is questionable; Ty Lawson (fractured rib) is doubtful; Danilo Gallinari (knee), JaVale McGee (stress fracture, left tibia) and Nate Robinson are out.
PORTLAND: LaMarcus Aldridge (groin) and Meyers Leonard (left ankle sprain) are questionable; Joel Freeland (right knee sprain) and Thomas Robinson (knee) are out.

Denver is an impressive 27-15 overall against the Trail Blazers since 2003-04, with 11 of Portland's wins coming in the past four seasons ... The Nuggets have won the season series against Portland in seven of their last 11 years ... Denver and Portland both registered 50+ wins in 2010-11. Prior to that year, the last time both teams finished with 50+ wins during the same season had been 1987-88 (Denver 54 and Portland 53).