Trail Blazers Game Notes: Portland Trail Blazers (6-7) at Denver Nuggets (8-4)
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (6-7) AT DENVER NUGGETS (8-4)
Sunday, November 14, 5:00 p.m. (Pacific) • Ball Arena
ALL TIME: Trail Blazers lead, 100-87
PORTLAND HOME: Trail Blazers lead, 70-24
DENVER HOME: Nuggets lead, 63-29
LAST PORTLAND WIN: 132-116, 5/16/21 (Por.)
LAST DENVER WIN: 106-105, 4/21/21 (Por.)
CURRENT WIN STREAK: One (Por.)
• Sunday's game is the first of four meetings between the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets this season. The teams play next on Tuesday, Nov. 23 in Portland.
• LAST SEASON: Denver won the season series against Portland last season, 2-1. The Nuggets defeated the Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2021 Playoffs, 4-2.
• In three games against Denver last season, Damian Lillard averaged 23.0 points (43.9% FG, 36.7% 3-PT, 100% FT), 4.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists.
• Norman Powell played in two games against the Nuggets with the Trail Blazers last season, averaging 18.0 points (47.4% FG, 44.4% 3-PT, 100% FT), 2.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.00 steal.
• Nikola Jokic played in three games against the Trail Blazers in 2020-21, posting averages of 29.0 points (52.2% FG, 26.7% 3-PT, 92.9% FT), 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists.
• In two games against Portland last season, Will Barton averaged 11.5 points (37.5% FG, 18.2% 3-PT, 75.0% FT), 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
• CONNECTION: Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic spent his first two-plus with the Nuggets, averaging 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 139 games (59 starts) from 2014-17.
• CONNECTION: Portland head coach Chauncey Billups is from Denver, Colorado. He played high school basketball at George Washington, college basketball at Colorado and played five seasons for the Nuggets in two stints during his NBA career.
• CONNECTION: Denver guard/forward Will Barton played two plus seasons for the Trail Blazers from 2012-15 after being selected by Portland with the 40th pick of the 2012 NBA Draft.
NEWS AND NOTES
LEADING THE WAY: The Trail Blazers hired Chauncey Billups as the 15th head coach in franchise history on June 27, 2021. Billups is making his debut as a head coach in the 2021-22 season. He spent the 2020-21 season as an assistant coach for the LA Clippers, helping lead the team to a 47-25 record and a trip to the Western Conference Finals.
THE LITTLE THINGS: Nassir Little recorded his second career double-double at Houston on Nov. 12, finishing with 13 points (6-10 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 0-1 FT) and a career-high 14 rebounds to go with two steals and one block. Little has corralled 21 offensive rebounds this season, which is the third-most in the NBA for players 6'7" or shorter.
CRASHING THE GLASS: Among NBA reserves, Cody Zeller ranks third in the league in offensive rebounds (27) while Larry Nance Jr. (19) and Nassir Little (19) are tied for fifth.
DAME DROPPING 20: Damian Lillard scored a season-high 28 points (12-23 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 3-4 FT) to go with seven rebounds and seven assists at Phoenix on Nov. 10. His nine games of 20-plus points this season are tied for the ninth-most in the NBA.
STORMIN' NORMAN: Norman Powell scored 23 points (8-17 FG, 3-8 3-PT, 4-5 FT) to go with three rebounds and one assist at Phoenix on Nov. 10. It was the fifth time in six games that he scored 20-plus points. For the season, Powell is shooting 50.0% from the field, 45.5% from the three-point-line, and 80.5% from the free-throw stripe.
17,000 POINTS: With his 25th point against the Lakers on Nov. 6, Damian Lillard reached 17,000 points for his career. Playing in his 692nd game, Lillard was the 17th-fastest player in NBA history to reach that total.
NURK'S NIGHT: Jusuf Nurkic recorded 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting from the field (3-5 FT) to go with 17 rebounds, one assist, three steals and one block against the Lakers on Nov. 6. He is the second player in team history to record at least 15 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 100% from the field (Calvin Natt, 3/18/82 vs. Golden State).
ROCO'S RUN: Robert Covington had a season-high 19 points (7-12 FG, 5-10 3-PT) to go with five rebounds and one steal against Indiana on Nov. 5. Nine of his points came in the fourth quarter on perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the three-point-line. All three tiples came in the final four minutes of the game.
3J McCOLLUM: CJ McCollum is fourth in the NBA in three-pointers made (41) and eighth in three-pointers attempted (109). He has made at least four shots from deep in seven out of 13 games so far this season.
BEAST ON THE BOARDS: Jusuf Nurkic matched his season high with 17 rebounds against the Lakers on Nov. 6. He has led the Trail Blazers in rebounds in 11 games so far this season. Nurkic ranks seventh in the NBA in rebounds (11.3).
BENCH BUCKETS: Anfernee Simons led Portland's bench with 16 points (6-10 FG, 4-6 3-PT) against the Pacers on Nov. 5, marking his fourth straight game scoring 15-plus points. Simons is sixth in the NBA in total bench points this season (155) and is sixth in three-pointers made off the bench (28).
TOP 100 SCORER: With his 13th point against the Kings on Oct. 20, Damian Lillard moved past Elton Brand into the top 100 on the NBA all-time scoring list.
CJ SCORING: CJ McCollum scored the 10,000th point of his career on Oct. 20 against the Kings. He is the eighth player in team history with 10,000 points. With his 15th point against the Grizzlies on OCt. 27, McCollum passed Jerome Kersey for sixth on the Trail Blazers all-time scoring list.
5. Cliff Robinson - 10,405 points
6. CJ McCollum - 10,240 points
7. Jerome Kersey - 10,067 points
LETTING IT FLY: The Trail Blazers matched a franchise record with 55 three-pointers attempted (made 15) against the Lakers on Nov. 6. It was the seventh time in franchise history that Portland attempted at least 50 shots from deep. Portland ranks fifth in the NBA in three-pointers made per game (13.9) and fifth in attempts (40.1).
NEW IN TOWN: During the 2021 offseason, the Trail Blazers added Tony Snell, Dennis Smith Jr., Ben McLemore, Trendon Watford and Cody Zeller via free agency, Larry Nance Jr. via trade and Greg Brown III via the 2021 NBA draft. McLemore (53.0%), Snell (54.4%) and Zeller (58.5%) have all started over half of their career games since being drafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, while Nance has started 123 of his 350 career games (35.1%).
NBA 75th ANNIVERSARY TEAM: Damian Lillard was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team on Oct. 21. He joins former Trail Blazers Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen, Carmelo Anthony, and Lenny Wilkens on the list.
LAST FIVE GAMES
Game #13 - Portland 104, Houston 92 — November 12, 2021, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
The Trail Blazers beat the Rockets in Houston, 104-92, to earn their first road win of the season ... Damian Lillard scored a game-high 20 points (6-16 FG, 4-9 3-PT, 4-5 FT) to go with six rebounds and seven assists ... CJ McCollum added 17 points (7-21 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 2-2 FT), eight rebounds, five assists and two steals ... Nassir Little had his second career double-double, finishing with 13 points (6-10 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 0-1 FT) and a career-high 14 rebounds to go with two assists, two steals and one block ... Jusuf Nurkic had 12 points (1-3 FG, 10-10 FT), nine rebounds and three steals ... Cody Zeller and Larry Nance Jr. each added nine points off the bench ... Kevin Porter Jr. led the way for the Rockets with 18 points (7-14 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 3-7 FT) to go with five rebounds and five assists ... Christian Wood added eight points, 15 rebounds, one assist and one block.
Game #12 - Phoenix 119, Portland 109 — November 10, 2021, Footprint Center, Phoenix Arizona
Portland dropped its second game in as many nights, falling to the Suns in Phoenix, 119-109 ... Damian Lillard scored a season-high 28 points (12-23 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 3-4 FT) to go with seven rebounds and seven assists to lead the Trail Blazers ... Norman Powell added 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting (3-8 3-PT, 4-5 FT) to go with three rebounds and one assist ... CJ McCollum had 18 points (7-16 FG, 1-7 3-PT, 3-3 FT), four rebounds and seven assists ... Larry Nance Jr. led the Portland bench with 13 points (6-7 FG, 1-2 3-PT), five rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes ... It was Nance's first game scoring in double figures this season ... Nassir Little chipped in eight points and seven rebounds ... Frank Kaminsky led the Suns with a career-high 31 points (12-18 FG, 2-5 3-PT, 5-5 FT) to go with seven rebounds, three assists and one block ... Chris Paul had 21 points and seven assists.
Game #11 - LA Clippers 117, Portland 109 — November 9, 2021, STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California
The Trail Blazers were defeated by the Clippers at STAPLES Center, 117-109, falling to 0-5 on the road to start the season ... The Clippers shot 53.3% from the three-point line (16-of-30) ... Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 27 points (11-23 FG, 4-13 3-PT, 1-1 FT) to go with five rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes ... Norman Powell added 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting (5-6 3-PT, 2-4 FT) while adding three rebounds, three assists and one steal ... Jusuf Nurkic had 15 points (6-9 FG, 1-1 3-PT, 2-2 FT), 13 rebounds, six assists and one steal ... CJ McCollum was held to 13 points (6-15 FG, 0-2 3-PT, 1-2 FT), three rebounds and three assists ... Cody Zeller chipped in eight points and eight rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench ... Paul George led the Clippers with 24 points (10-24 FG, 3-7 3-PT, 1-2 FT), nine rebounds, seven assists and one steal ... Reggie Jackson added 23 points and six assists.
Game #10 - Portland 105, L.A. Lakers 90 — November 6, 2021, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
The Trail Blazers dominated the Lakers in the first and third quarters, helping to secure a 105-90 victory at Moda Center ... It was Portland's second straight win and their fifth straight victory at home ... Damian Lillard led the Trail Blazers with 25 points (9-19 FG, 6-14 3-PT, 1-2 FT) to go with three rebounds, six assists and two steals ... Lillard's final points gave him 17,000 points for his career ... Jusuf Nurkic had a double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds on 6-of-6 shooting (3-5 FT) ... It was the second time in team history that a player had at least 15 points and 15 rebounds while shooting 100% from the field ... Norman Powell added 13 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal and two blocks ... Robert Covington had 12 points (4-8 FG, 4-7 3-PT, four rebounds, two steals and a block ... Malik Monk led the Lakers with 13 points, four rebounds and four assists.
Game #9 - Portland 110, Indiana 106 — November 5, 2021, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
The Trail Blazers snapped a three-game losing streak and earned their fourth straight home with a 110-106 victory over Indiana at Moda Center ... CJ McCollum led the way for Portland, finishing with 27 points (11-19 FG, 5-9 3-PT) to go with five rebounds and six assists ... Norman Powell had 25 points (8-14 FG, 3-4 3-PT, 6-6 FT), two rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block ... Robert Covington had a season-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting (5-10 3-PT) to go with five rebounds and one steal ... Anfernee Simons led the Portland bench with 16 points (6-10 FG, 4-6 3-PT), one rebound, one assist and one block ... Damian Lillard had four points and 11 assists ... Lillard's four points matched his career low for scoring ... T.J. McConnell led the Pacers with 19 points (8-13 FG, 3-4 3-PT), seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block ... Domantas Sabonis added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Portland G Damian Lillard (lower abdominal tendinopathy) is out for Sunday's game at Denver.
For the Nuggets, Vlatko Cancar (left hip; strain), Petr Cornelia (G League - two-way), Jamal Murray (left knee; injury recovery) and Michael Porter Jr. (low back; pain) are out.
Sunday’s game can be seen locally on ROOT Sports with Kevin Calabro, Lamar Hurd and Brooke Olzendam calling the action. On the radio side, Travis Demers, Michael Holton and Jay Allen will have the call on Rip City Radio 620 AM and on all of the stations of the Deschutes Brewery Trail Blazers Radio Network.