Preview: Denver Nuggets round preseason against Portland Trail Blazers

The Denver Nuggets will kick off their preseason tonight with their second straight contest against the Portland Trail Blazers. The first matchup in Denver’s favor went a long way as they opened a lead with two doubles in the first quarter and didn’t look back on the way to a 126-95 win. Now both teams will try to survive in this final tournament without suffering injuries.

That could mean some interesting lines, especially in the second half of this game. The final game of preseason is usually used as a uniform prediction for the regular season but the Nuggets more or less played their regular line for the first two and a half quarters before going to the stores for the first 18 minutes or so of the first two preseason tournaments so in many ways they have already made the predictions. The last game also had a similar Portland approach so don’t be surprised if both teams choose to get some rest for their lads and reduce the risk of injury by going to the bench early and often in this one.

The essentials

Who: Portland Trail Blazers (1-2) at Denver Nuggets (1-1)

When: 7:00 PM MST

Where: Arena Ball (RIP The Can … I can’t name myself The Sack, I can’t). Denver, CO.

How to watch / listen: Denver Stiffs doesn’t allow piracy … unless it’s the romantic type of 18th century. Altitude TV where available, Pass Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Sneak into Ball Arena in a Rocky suit. 92.5 FM KKSE Sports Radio Sports.

Rival Blog: Blazer edge

Projected matchups

Position Nuggets Blazers Advantage
Position Nuggets Blazers Advantage
PG Jamal Murray Damian Lillard Blazers
SG Gary Harris CJ McCollum Blazers
SF Michael Porter Jr. Derrick Jones Jr. Namely
PF Paul Millsap Robert Covington Namely
C. Nikola Jokic Jusuf Nurkic Nuggets
Bench Monte Morris, Will Barton, PJ Dozier, Isaiah Hartenstein, Bol Bol, Facundo Campazzo, Zeke Nnaji, RJ Hampton, Vlatko Cancar, Markus Howard, Greg Whittington Carmelo Anthony, Zach Collins, Enes Kanter, Gary Trent Jr., Harry Giles III, Rodney Hood, CJ Elleby, Keljin Blevins, Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little Namely

Player Opportunity: JaMychal Green – out (calf)

Main matchup: Health vs. weird stuff that happens in demo games

Like I said, just getting through this game healthy is important. If it was me, I wouldn’t even bother playing Nikola Jokic at all. The boy is clearly ready to go and needs no more warmth before the season starts. There is no benefit in playing Nikola in this game and the only thing you can do is risk being injured. I probably wouldn’t bother playing Jamal Murray or Paul Millsap either. Heck I might even give Gary Harris a night off. The Nuggets should use this game as an opportunity to get to know more boys like Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol as well as a chance to put a little rust off for someone like Will Barton, but the players they know are good at doing This one should definitely go away.

Key thing to look for: mountaineering

In the game one of Barton ‘s preseason was out so PJ Dozier and Facundo Campazzo figured out what to call “regular rotation. ”In game 2 Barton was back and it was Campazzo who was left waiting late in the game to get minutes. I think Dozier is the thing to keep your eye on in this game and whether or not to stay a part of that constant movement. If he does that it is safe to assume that Facu is going to be pushed out of a rotation of ten. However, it won’t surprise me if Malone tonight chooses to give Dozier time off and see how Facu plays alongside Barton with the bench lineup. If that’s true it’s reasonable to think that Malone is still working out who the tenth one is going to be.

Opening comment: let’s get ready for a wacky season

It’s crazy to think that the whole preseason lasted one week this year but that’s just the kind of thing we have to get used to. With the COVID outbreak still raging in America this year that may look very different in the NBA. It’s already pretty hard to see the empty field without court side seats (side note: I wish the NBA would follow in and hold up the hockey boards throughout the game so that we actually feel “playing basketball in a roller rink” feeling). There are sure to be ups and downs this season, weird games with a weird player opportunity, postponed games and so on. There will be weird times like playing the same multiplayer team in a series as if it were a basketball series. The whole Star weekend may look very different. This is for Nuggets fans, let’s roll with the punches and be comfortable as we are rooting for the most enduring team in the NBA so this shouldn’t be a dormant one for them.