After A 4-1 Homestand, Blazers Head To Denver To Face The Best In The West

by Casey Holdahl
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After going 4-1 over the course of a five-game homestand, the Portland Trail Blazers (26-17) hit the road for a back-to-back series starting Sunday night versus the Western-Conference leading Denver Nuggets. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.

SERIES NOTES

ALL TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 97-80
IN PORTLAND: Trail Blazers lead, 68-22
AT THE NUGGETS: Nuggets lead, 58-29
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 115-113, 10/29/17 (Denver)
LAST NUGGETS WIN: 113-112, 11/30/18 (Portland)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: Four (Denver)

GAME NOTES

• Sunday’s game marks the second of four meetings between the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets during the 2018-19 season. Denver leads the season series, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: The Nuggets edged past the Trail Blazers at Moda Center on Nov. 30, 113-112. CJ McCollum missed a 21-foot jumpshot at the final buzzer that would have given Portland the victory. Gary Harris led Denver with 27 points (9-21 FG, 4-10 3-PT, 5-6 FT), including a three-pointer to give the Nuggets a 113-100 lead with 16.5 seconds left in the game. CJ McCollum had 33 points (14-21 FG, 5-5 FT), four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block for the Trail Blazers.

HUMMING ALONG: The Trail Blazers and Nuggets are both 7-3 over their last 10 games. Portland’s net rating of +6.9 in that span is the fifth-best in the NBA while Denver’s net rating of +1.5 over the last 10 games is the 14th-best in the league.

• Damian Lillard had 15 points (6-16 FG, 3-8 3-PT), one rebound and eight assists against the Nuggets on Nov. 30. Lillard has averaged 20.0 points and 6.5 assists in his last four games against the Nuggets. He has scored at least 25 points in his last five games at Denver.

• Al-Farouq Aminu had 20 points (7-9 FG, 2-4 3-PT, 4-4 FT), seven rebounds and one assist against the Nuggets in the Nov. 30 meeting.

• Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points (7-15 FG, 3-5 FT) and 11 rebounds against Denver on Nov. 30. Nurkic has recorded three straight double-doubles against the Nuggets. He has averaged 19.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.33 blocks in six games against Denver with Portland.

• Paul Millsap recorded 22 points (9-16 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 2-2 FT), 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals against Portland on Nov. 30.

• Nikola Jokic recorded 15 points (7-12 FG, 0-2 3-PT, 1-1 FT), six rebounds, seven assists and one block against the Trail Blazers on Nov. 30. Jokic has had at least 15 points, six rebounds and five assists in each of his last four games against Portland.

CONNECTION: Jusuf Nurkic spent his first two-plus seasons (139 games) with the Nuggets, averaging 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Portland acquired Nurkic and a 2017 first round pick from Denver in exchange for Mason Plumlee and a 2017 second round pick.

CONNECTION: Nuggets guard Will Barton was drafted 40th overall by the Trail Blazers in the 2012 NBA Draft and averaged 3.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in two-plus seasons (144 games) with the Trail Blazers.
   

INJURY NOTES

Maurice Harkless (left knee), Caleb Swanigan (G League) and Wade Baldwin (G League) are out for Sunday's game at Denver.

BROADCAST NOTES

Sunday's game can be seen locally on NBC Sports Northwest with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam. NBC Sports Northwest also streams 76 live games during the 2018-19 Trail Blazers season. NBA League Pass will also carry the game, though blackouts based on location apply. The game will also air on ESPN.

Travis Demers, filling in for Brian Wheeler, and Casey Holdahl will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the stations of the Trail Blazers Radio Network.

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