The Trail Blazes are now 18-12 on the season after a blowout loss in Phoenix Monday night.
Now they're hoping to right the ship and snap a two-game losing streak when they visit the Denver Nuggets (16-14) Tuesday.
In the second night of a back-to-back, Portland will also look to hand the Nuggets their second-straight loss.
Tuesday’s game will be nationally televised on TNT and is the first matchup between the Trail Blazers and Nuggets this season.
The remaining two games will be played during the Second Half of the season.
Denver took the season-series last year, 3-1. The Nuggets have won three regular season games against the Blazers in each of the last three seasons.
Portland will once again be without Harry Giles (left calf strain), CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture).
For the Nuggets, Michael Porter Jr. (low back; tightness) is probable, while PJ Dozier (right hamstring; strain), JaMychal Green (left shoulder; sprain), Gary Harris (left adductor; strain), Paul Millsap (left knee; sprain) and Greg Whittington (left knee; arthroscopy) are out.
Following Monday’s blowout loss to the Suns, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes explains how Portland fell short on offense and defense in the 4th-place battle at Phoenix:
The Phoenix Suns Monday made a bold statement to the Trail Blazers about that No. 4 spot in the Western Conference standings.
Portland sat just a game back of the Suns prior to the game but by the end of this night, looked to be a whole lot farther back than that. Phoenix looked every bit the part a much better team than the Trail Blazers.
The Suns took the Trail Blazers to school at both ends of the court in a 132-100 whipping. Phoenix has a top 10 rating in both offense and defense and it showed.
The Suns hit 48.5 percent of their threes and 50.5 percent of their overall shots, while holding Portland to 30.8 from three and 44 overall. The Blazers also had 16 turnovers, seven of them in the first quarter, very high for a team that doesn’t usually have such trouble.
The Suns blew it open in the third quarter, outscoring Portland 37-17.
“The first first half, I thought we were close,” Terry Stotts said. “Defensively, there were a few things, you know here and there. But I didn't think we were that far off in the first half.
“But obviously, the third quarter -- you know, offensively, we didn't shoot the ball well. We didn't score, and they were very efficient. Deandre Ayton had an impact on the game in the paint. Devin Booker had an outstanding game, but in the first and third quarters he was outstanding.
“So, it went off track in the third quarter, which is an understatement.”
The Suns have made a big improvement at the defensive end. Where has that come from?
“Deandre had an impact on the game,” Stotts said. “I think Chris Paul has always been an excellent defensive guard. I think he's smart, he's got good hands. He demands that of his teammates, so he certainly is an impetus for that. And Jae Crowder is an excellent defender as well, so I think bringing in Crowder and bringing in Chris Paul and Ayton gaining the experience, I think that all has really helped them.”
Read more here.
The Blazers are +8 point underdogs against the Nuggets, odds provided by our partner PointsBet.
Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s matchup --
- Damian Lillard averaged 27.8 points (44.4% FG, 39.5% 3-PT, 84.6% FT), 3.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists and 1.50 steals in four games against Denver last season.
- In three games against the Nuggets last season, Gary Trent Jr. averaged 12.7 points (51.9% FG, 60.0% 3-PT, 50.0% FT), 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists, including a 27-point performance in the bubble which is the third-highest scoring game of his career.
- Nikola Jokic averaged 19.3 points (54.8% FG, 47.1% 3-PT, 78.6% FT), 10.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists in four games against the Trail Blazers last season
POINT SPREAD: -- Trail Blazers: +8 (-110) – Nuggets: -8 (-110)
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Tuesday, February 23
Where: Ball Arena | Denver, CO
Start time: 7:00 p.m. PT
TV channel: TNT
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