The Denver Nuggets (23-16) are going for their sixth straight win when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers (20-17) on Tuesday night.
The Nuggets have slipped past their last three opponents by putting together a strong 4th quarter despite playing just well enough to keep up in the first three quarters of the game. On their current winning streak they’re outscoring their opponents 150-103 in the 4th quarter. They’ve outscored every opponent except the Lakers in the 4th in that span.
The Blazers have lost two straight games coming into Tuesday’s contest but they beat the Nuggets 101-93 back on December 20th. Portland held the Nuggets to an NBA record 0-22 from behind the arc and just 38.8% shooting from the field. All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge watched from the bench that game with an injury while J.J. Hickson posted a double-double.
Coming into Tuesday night’s matchup, the Nuggets are being led by Danilo Gallinari. Gallo has been heating up as of late, and is looking for his 3rd consecutive game with over 20 points. He’s averaging 21 points in the current winning streak. Kenneth Faried will have his work cut out for him when trying to get to the basket against Portland’s frontcourt. He’s averaging a double-double over the past five games, posting 13.2 ponts per game and 11.2 rebounds per game. Andre Iguodala is still looking to get fully on track lately. He hasn’t made more than six field goals since December 28th. Ty Lawson will be faced with the difficult task of keeping rookie sensation Damian Lillard in check.
Portland is bolstered by the phsical tandem of Aldridge and Hickson. Aldridge is averaging just over 20 points and 8 rebounds per game, both over his career averages. Hickson is averaging 12 points and almost 11 boards per game. In the last game against Denver, Hickson had 18 points and just as many rebounds. They will look to be a force in the paint, where the Nuggets thrive. Lillard, the young floor general out of Weber State, is averaging 18.3 points per game and 6.5 assists. There’s talk that he might be the first rookie guard to make the All-Star game since Michael Jordan. He posted a double-double in the last game against Denver.
Matchup to Watch: Denver’s driving backcourt vs. Portlands Aggressive frontcourt
It’s no secret that Denver likes to get to the basket. Denver thrives when they score buckets in the paint and scoring off of offensive rebounds. Portland has two big uglies under the basket that could cause problems for Denver’s guards along with Gallinari and Faried as they drive to the hoop. Look for Denver to draw fouls and be aggressive.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. MST (9:00 ET) at the Pepsi Center in Denver.