Thursday’s pick for Game of the Night features two teams looking to get back on track – the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers. Both squads are in the competitive Northwest Division in the Western Conference and have each lost two consecutive games.
Portland went 2-2 on their 4-game road trip, most recently losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-97 on Tuesday night behind Kevin Durant‘s 46 points. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Wesley Matthews added 21 of his own and Damian Lillard chipped in with 14, but was 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. Matthews is averaging a career-best 16.7 points this season.
The Blazers boast the league’s top offense, averaging 109.3 points per game. They do, however, struggle on defense, allowing 103.5 points per contest – 28th in the league, only behind the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.
A five-game win streak provided some optimism in Denver, before the team dropped three of the next four to fall to 20-20 on the season. Danilo Gallinari was expected back after rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered last season, but the small forward will now be forced to miss the remainder of the season.
In their last game against the Phoenix Suns, Anthony Randolph provided a spark off the bench for the Nuggets, pacing the team with 19 points in just over 22 minutes. Guards Ty Lawson and Evan Fournier and forward Wilson Chandler all contributed with 17 points, but the team fell to the Suns, 117-103.
In the two teams’ lone matchup this season, the Blazers bested the Nuggets 113-98 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Portland drained 14 three-pointers and Aldridge scored a game-high 25 while Denver received 24 from Nate Robinson.
The Blazers are playing at the Moda Center, where they have gone an impressive 16-4 on the season while the Nuggets are just 9-11 on the road. Both teams are hungry, but the better team will win this game. 110 – 102, Portland wins.
Time: 10:30 P.M. ET
National TV: TNT