Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

What: Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers

Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR

When: Wednesday, 23 October 2019, 10:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, NBC Sports Northwest, Altitude | Rip City Radio 620

Denver Nuggets (Away)

Head Coach: Mike Malone {All-Time 212-222 | SAC, DEN}

Season Record: 0-0

Projected Starting Five: (G) Jamal Murray – (G) Gary Harris – (G) Will Barton – (F) Paul Millsap – (C) Nikola Jokic

Top Performers:

  • (C) Nikola Jokic – 31.3 MPG | 20.1 PPG | 10.8 RPG | 7.3 APG
  • (G) Jamal Murray – 32.6 MPG | 18.2 PPG | 4.2 RPG | 4.8 APG
  • (F) Paul Millsap – 27.1 MPG | 12.6 PPG | 7.2 RPG | .365 3P%

The Denver Nuggets are coming off of a fantastic 54-win season in 2018-2019. While they struggled with injuries throughout the season, they were able to rely on Mike Malone’s schemes and their impressive depth to achieve one of their best seasons ever.

Led by Nikola Jokic, they were brilliant on both ends of the court. They will expect another season of improvement from him, while receiving an improved season from their role players.

When they face off against the Portland Trail Blazers, they will be taking on one of the NBA’s most competitive two-way units. The Nuggets backcourt of Murray and Harris will have to keep up with the high-powered offence of Lillard and McCollum.

Be sure to check out our article covering the Denver Nuggets Offseason Moves

1
DraftKings
  • tick markAvailable in most states
  • tick mark$10 welcome bonus

Portland Trail Blazers (Home)

Head Coach: Terry Stotts {All-Time 440-417 | ATL, MIL, POR}

Season Record: 0-0

Projected Starting Five: (G) Damian Lillard – (G) CJ McCollum – (F) Rodney Hood – (F) Zach Collins – (C) Hassan Whiteside

Top Performers:

  • (G) Damian Lillard – 35.5 MPG | 25.8 PPG | 4.6 RPG | 6.9 APG
  • (G) CJ McCollum – 33.9 MPG | 21.0 PPG | 4.0 RPG | 3.0 APG
  • (C) Jusuf Nurkic – 15.6 PPG | 10.4 RPG | 1.4 BPG

The Blazers’ season all came crashing down last year when they were swept by the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

Portland looks to build on what was a successful regular season with a retooled roster intended to compete in an, again, loaded Western Conference.

When they face off against the Nuggets, the Blazers’ summer moves will be put into perspective. Damian Lillard will lead them once again, with a team of interesting new faces.

Want more on the Blazers? Then check out this article on the Portland Trail Blazers Offseason Moves

What’s At Stake?

The Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers are two historic Western Conference teams. In 180 regular season meetings, the Blazers lead the Nuggets 98-82.

The Denver Nuggets draw a game opening opponent to prove last years success was no fluke.

Matching up with one of last years top seeds, the Blazers hope to show the world that their Conference Final sweep wasn’t a show of weakness.

Can the Nuggets Maintain Their Stunning Defence?

The Nuggets’ improvement on the defensive end was nothing short of spectacular during their 2018-2019 campaign. While they were in the bottom third of the league during the 2017-2018 campaign, they had the tenth best defence last year.

The addition of Paul Millsap was always going to be a boon to their defensive ability, however a hero arrived in unlikely fashion. On a two-way for most of the year, Torrey Craig’s energy, length, and adaptability earned him a full contract as well as over 1500 minutes all year.

The Nuggets’ roster is mostly unchanged, however they will have to maintain their defensive intensity against the Blazers in their opening match. A guard-oriented offence, the Blazers will challenge the Nuggets’ weakest defenders in Murray and Harris.

Changes in the Paint

The loss of Jusuf Nurkic is a tough one to swallow. While he doesn’t have a timetable on his return, there’s a number of players that are ready to step up to the plate.

Hassan Whiteside joins the team, ready to revitalize his career after a downward spiral with the heat. With the departures of Harkless and Aminu, the pressure is on young Zach Collins to make up for their defensive contributions.

Each player will be taking turns trying to stop Jokic from establishing his game, but will also need to make contributions on offence to be a capable outlet for Lillard and McCollum.

Can the New Boy Bring the Heat?

Most of the Nuggets’ roster was unchanged over the summer, however they made one key acquisition that could be the steal of the year. Jerami Grant joins the Nuggets from the Oklahoma City Thunder, ready to bring even more energy to their front line.

At 6’9 with an amazing 7’3 wingspan, Grant’s length and mobility is incredibly valuable on both sides of the court. Still only 25 years old, Grant was a +0.9 defensive box plus/minus with the Thunder, while improving their defence by 1.6 points per 100 possessions last year.

Versatility is Grant’s main asset and it will surely be on display in their first match of the season. Averaging almost a steal and over one block per game last year, Denver will hope his offensive game can meet his defensive production.

Blazers’ Reserves On the Spot

The Portland Trail Blazers are led by their two stars, however, there is some new depth to their team that is expected to make immediate contributions.

Kent Bazemore is a high-flying, deep-range shooting guard who battled injury issues in Atlanta and is hoping for new life in Portland. Mario Hezonja is more offensively adept than Bazemore, and has shown that he can perform admirably in the moment. Portland will also rely on young Anfernee Simons to take a big step and show he’s the number one backup to Lillard.

Terry Stotts has always staggered the minutes of Lillard and McCollum to ensure the team keeps their rhythm when one goes to the bench. With much to prove in game one, expect a breakout game from one of Portland’s new arrivals.

1
DraftKings
  • tick markAvailable in most states
  • tick mark$10 welcome bonus

Denver Nuggets Roster Notes

(C) Bol Bol – 20 Sep 2019 – Out (Foot) – Bol has not been cleared to participate in the preseason, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports reports.

(F) Vlatko Cancar – 21 Oct 2019 – Day-to-Day (Ankle) – Head Coach Mike Malone said Cancar turned his ankle during practice on Sunday.

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Notes

(C) Pau Gasol – 19 Oct 2019 – Out (Foot) – Gasol is not expected to play in Wednesday’s season opener versus the Nuggets.

(F) Nassir Little – 15 Oct 2019 – Day-to-Day (Ankle) – After only his second preseason game, Little went down with injury.

(C) Jusuf Nurkic – 21 Sep 2019 – Out (Leg) – Blazers’ GM Neil Olshey said Monday that the team will be “purposefully vague” when discussing Nurkic’s (leg) rehab, Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports.

X-Factors: Jamal Murray (DEN) vs Damian Lillard (POR)

Look no further than the point guard position if you want to see the matchup of the evening. While Jokic controls the paint, Murray is the Nuggets’ hired gun to fill the box score.

On the other end of the court, Damian Lillard is prepared to use his All-NBA talents in order to slow the rise of the upstart Nuggets.

(G) Jamal Murray (6-4, 207lb (193cm, 93kg) | Kentucky | 3 Years)

 

 

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1921DEN7532.618.24.24.8.437.367

 

The Denver Nuggets need Jamal Murray to take the next step this season. He was excellent last year, improving on his shooting and playing as an off-ball shooter with Jokic as the playmaker.

However more responsibility will be in Murray’s hands this year. Matching up with Lillard, he will not only have to make the perennial All-Star work on the defensive end but also compete as he tries to score.

(G) Damian Lillard (6-3, 195lb (190cm, 88kg) | Weber State | 7 Years)

 

 

SeasonAgeTeamGamesMPPTSREBASTFG%3P%
18-1928POR8035.525.84.66.9.444.369

 

Damian Lillard has a lot to prove this season. After dispatching his rival Russell Westbrook and the Thunder in last years playoffs, the Blazers hit a new low by getting swept in the Conference Finals.

With a national television spot, Lillard will be out to prove his team hasn’t regressed. His offensive load will be even bigger, as Nurkic is still unavailable for selection.

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available.

Why the Denver Nuggets Will Win

Nikola Jokic can dominate this ball game. With his ability offensively, The Joker has all the qualities needed to take control of this match. He will have to rely on the finishing ability of his teammates though, as well as their ability to make up for his defensive ineptitude.

Why the Portland Trail Blazers Will Win

The Portland Trail Blazers are a well-oiled machine. They have the offensive resume needed to dominate, but will have to overcome some chemistry questions to take down a versatile Nuggets team. Expect a big opening night from Lillard.

Game Odds – Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers

The latest odds for the Nuggets vs Blazers are provided by 888sport NJ, DraftKings, and Unibet NJ.

Good Luck!

Money Line:

SportsbookDEN NuggetsPOR Trail Blazers
888sport NJ+102-121
DraftKings+102-121
Unibet NJ+102-121

Point Spread:

SportsbookDEN Nuggets +1.5POR Trail Blazers -1.5
888sport NJ-110-110
DraftKings-110-110
Unibet NJ-110-110
1
DraftKings
  • tick markAvailable in most states
  • tick mark$10 welcome bonus
2
FanDuel
  • tick markAvailable in most states
  • tick mark$5 welcome bonus

More NBA Predictions & Odds

Dallas Mavericks vs New York Knicks: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes
Dallas Mavericks vs New York Knicks: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes
Kristaps Porzingis makes his return to New York! Can RJ Barrett and the Knicks humble their former star? …
News iconNovember 13
Author iconChristian Jope
Los Angeles Clippers vs Houston Rockets: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes
Los Angeles Clippers vs Houston Rockets: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes
Will we see the return of Paul George when the LA Clippers take on the Houston Rockets? It's a massive Western Conference tilt! …
News iconNovember 13
Author iconChristian Jope
Portland Trail Blazers vs Sacramento Kings: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes
Portland Trail Blazers vs Sacramento Kings: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes
Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers continue their road trip and take on De'Aaron Fox's upstart Sacramento Kings! …
News iconNovember 12
Author iconChristian Jope