The Portland Trail Blazers will be quite relieved once Tuesday night’s game at Denver is over. The Blazers will have concluded one of their toughest four-game stretches of the season. They started it with a 92-90 home win last Thursday over the Miami Heat, outscoring Miami 24-10 in the final eight minutes and ending LeBron James’ streak of 20-point games at 54 straight.
Not too surprisingly, the Blazers were rather flat the next night and lost 103-97 at Golden State despite a career-high 37 points from Rookie of the Year favorite Damian Lillard, who was clearly geeked to be playing in his hometown of Oakland. It was the most by a Blazers rookie since February, 1980. On Sunday, the Blazers then had to host Oklahoma City, and the Thunder won 87-83 to end Portland’s nine-game home winning streak. LaMarcus Aldridge was terrific with 33 points and 11 rebounds but airballed a potential tying 20-foot jumper with 1.7 seconds left. Portland couldn’t take advantage of the Thunder missing starters Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha. After visiting the Nuggets on Tuesday, the Blazers have five straight and six of their next seven at home.
Free $60 in Member NBA Picks
This game ends a four-game homestand for Denver, and the Nuggets are nearly unbeatable in the Mile High City. They enter on a five-game winning streak overall. Denver beat Golden State 116-105 on Sunday night to improve to 14-2 at the Pepsi Center. Danilo Gallinari had one of his best all-around games of the season with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Nuggets outscored the Warriors 37-18 in the fourth and have outscored foes 151-102 in the fourth during the winning streak.
Portland at Denver Betting Story Lines
The Nuggets already were one of the deepest teams in the league, and that group got even stronger on Sunday with the return of Wilson Chandler. He played in four of Denver’s first eight games but had been sidelined since surgery to fix a hip injury. The 6-foot-8 forward had 14 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench against the Warriors. Denver's reserves outscored Golden State's backups a whopping 48-17.
Gallinari seemed to benefit most from Chandler’s return. When Nuggets coach George Karl decides to go small, Chandler plays power forward and Gallinari small forward, where his height is big advantage and is lack of girth isn’t a disadvantage as it is against power forwards. Chandler also is one of the best defensive players on the team. Karl says Chandler isn’t on a minutes restriction, but needless to say his conditioning still needs work.
This is the second of four meetings between the clubs. Back on Dec. 20 in Portland, the Blazers won 101-93 despite Aldridge sitting out. Nicolas Batum had 22 points and J.J. Hickson had 18 points and 18 rebounds for Portland. The Blazers led by as many as 18 in the first half, and Denver could never tie the game. The Nuggets were an astounding 0-for-22 from three-point range, the most three-point attempts without a make in a single game in NBA history. It was Portland's sixth straight victory over the Nuggets at the Rose Garden.
Portland at Denver NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Nuggets opened as 7.5-point favorites with the total at 204.5. Portland is 17-18-2 ATS overall (8-11 on road) and 17-19-1 “over/under”. Denver is 23-16 ATS overall (11-5 at home) and 20-19 O/U.
Portland is 4-0-1 ATS in past five games after a loss. Blazers are 8-0-1 ATS in past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The Nuggets are 6-1 ATS in past seven Tuesday games. Denver is 8-3 ATS in past 11 playing on one day of rest. The over is 7-3 in Portland’s past 10 road games. The under is 8-2 in Denver’s past 10 games after allowing 100 points or more in its previous game. Portland has covered just four of its past 21 visits to Denver. The under is 5-2 in the past seven meetings in the Mile High City.
Portland at Denver Picks and Betting Predictions
The magic number at home for Denver is 110 points. The Nuggets have won their past 23 at the Pepsi Center when hitting that number. Denver also has won seven straight in this series at home dating to 2007. The winning team in the past six meetings has scored at least 101 points.
Denver is just a different club at home – its lone losses there were by five to Miami and four to Minnesota. The Nuggets have beaten Memphis, San Antonio, Golden State, the Clippers and Lakers in the Mile High City. Overall, Denver is a solid 11-10 against teams with a winning record this season.
Portland generally hasn’t been good against quality teams on the road, with the best wins at the Knicks and Grizzlies. They’ve also lost to the likes of the Wizards, Suns, Pistons, Kings and Raptors away from home. It also is concerning that Portland has shot less than 40 percent from the field the past three games (and a lousy 47.2 percent in the paint) – it really should have lost to Miami. Denver is the pick, and the under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews