The Trailblazers head out onto the road after a long home stand that saw them go 4-1 over 1 ½ weeks. On the season, they haven’t been near as efficient on the road where they have an overall record of 8-10, including only 2-6 over its last 8 road games. The offense has been scoring consistently around its season average of 112 PPG while the defense has played decent enough to hold teams below the league average, giving up just under 110 PPG. There’s no secret this team is led by the dynamic guard duo of Damien Lillard (25.6 PPG) and CJ McCollum (21.1 PPG). Lillard also leads the team in assists at 6.1 APG. When both these guys are popping from the outside, Portland is nearly unstoppable.
The Denver Nuggets are coming off a blowout win over the Los Angeles Clippers 121-100. It was the team’s 7 win in its last 8 games, giving them a tie for the best record in the league with only 12 losses. At home, the Nuggets are unworldly ay 17-3, the best home record in the league. There’s just something about playing in the thin air that causes opponents issues. It doesn’t hurt that the Nuggets have the 4th best defense in the league, giving up only 105.4 PPG. The undeniable leader on offense is Nikola Jokic, who leads in all three major offensive categories (19.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 7.6 APG). Jamal Murray is the 2nd leading scorer with 18.5 PPG. The reality is this team is tough to beat because of great balance and depth.
Prediction: Both of these teams rate about average for pace of play. When these two teams met at the end of November, Portland came away with a narrow 113-112 victory. The teams played an up-tempo pace, something we expect in this game. Play over 217.5 (score – Denver 120 -109)