Preseason Starts With Nuggets At Memorial Coliseum

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold

After a week of practices at their facility in Tualatin, the Portland Trail Blazers (0-0) begin their five-game preseason schedule with the first of two exhibition games versus a Northwest Division rival, the Denver Nuggets, Tuesday night at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

SERIES NOTES

ALL TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 98-82

IN PORTLAND: Trail Blazers lead, 69-22

AT THE NUGGETS: Nuggets lead, 60-29
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 115-108, 4/7/19
LAST NUGGETS WIN: 119-110, 4/5/19 (Denver)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: One (Portland)

GAME NOTES

• Tuesday’s game marks the first of two preseason games between the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets. Portland and Denver will play each other four times during the regular season, with the season-opener being the first meeting on Oct. 23.

LAST MEETING: The Trail Blazers defeated the Nuggets in Denver, 100-96, in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals on May 12. CJ McCollum led the Trail Blazers with 37 points (17-29 FG, 1-3 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block, while Nikola Jokic paced the Nuggets with 29 points (11-26 FG, 2-6 3-PT, 5-7 FT), 13 rebounds, two assists and four blocks.

Familiar Foes: Portland played Denver four times during the regular season in 2018-19 and seven times during the 2019 Playoffs. The teams will face off twice during the 2019 preseason and four times during the regular season, including the Oct. 23 season-opener for both teams. By Oct. 24, the teams will have played each other 14 times in the last year.

• Damian Lillard averaged 21.3 points (37.1% FG, 28.6% 3-PT, 95.8% FT), 3.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists in four games (all starts) against the Nuggets during the 2018-19 regular season.

• In three games (all starts) against the Nuggets during the 2018-19 regular season, CJ McCollum averaged 20.0 points (45.3% FG, 26.3% 3-PT, 100% FT), 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

• In three games (all starts) against the Trail Blazers during the 2018-19 regular season, Nikola Jokic averaged 25.7 points (62.0% FG, 38.5% 3-PT, 76.9% FT), 9.7 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.00 steal.

• Paul Millsap averaged 19.3 points (62.9% FG, 60.0% 3-PT, 91.7% FT), 7.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in three games (all starts) against the Trail Blazers during the 2018-19 regular season.

CONNECTION: Portland center Jusuf Nurkic spent his first two-plus seasons with the Nuggets from 2014-17, averaging 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 139 games.

CONNECTION: Denver guard/forward Will Barton (2012-15) and Nuggets center Mason Plumlee (2015-17) both played multiple seasons for the Trail Blazers.

INJURY NOTES

After missing much of training camp, both Hassan Whiteside (left ankle) and Zach Collins (left finger) are probable for Tuesday's contest. Pau Gasol (left foot) is out as he continues to work his way back after undergoing surgery in May to repair a stress fracture, though he noted that he hopes he's able to play at some point during preseason. Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) is out.

As for the Nuggets, both Nikola Jokic (rest management) and Bol Bol (foot) are out.

BROADCAST NOTES

Tuesday's game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN. Travis Demers and Michael Bolton will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations on the Trail Blazers Radio Network.

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