Trail Blazers

It was Déjà vu for Trail Blazers vs. Nuggets in preseason finale

Trail Blazers

That's a wrap on the 2020-21 preseason.

And it was a very similar game to Wednesday night.  

The Trail Blazers once again saw the Nuggets rattle off 41-first-quarter points after allowing that many points in Wednesday’s first quarter in Denver.

The Blazers now wrap-up the exhibition 1-3 after dropping two games in Denver this week with Friday’s 129-96 loss.

Portland was without Damian Lillard as he sat out of the preseason finale. The good news: Lillard wasn’t sitting out due to injury, but instead, just taking the night off with the Blazers now five days away from the regular season tipping off.    

Download and subscribe to the Talkin' Blazers Podcast

CJ McCollum handled the starting point guard duties while Rodney Hood slid into the starting lineup. Gary Trent Jr. ran the point for the Blazers second unit.

 

Paul Millsap flexed on the Blazers, notching 22 points in the first half.  To end the first half, Millsap had his way with Portland from deep.

Denver rested its starters in the second half after taking a 79-48 lead at halftime.

For the second straight game, the Nuggets jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and then the two basically played even basketball for the rest of the game.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Nuggets 129, Trail Blazers 96

The Good: 

Robert Covington was doing it all.

The Trail Blazers power forward started off the game hitting his first two three-point attempts. He was also active on the defensive end with his active hands and sneaky defense in the backcourt.

Rodney Hood looked more like himself, especially on the block with his silky jumper while playing in his third game back since tearing his left Achilles. Hood recorded 19 minutes up from his limited 12 minutes that he had seen in the previous two preseason games.

The Bad: 

Denver once again dissected Portlands defense. With their ball movement and player movement, the Nuggets had a lot of success in their pick and roll and with backdoor cuts.

The Blazers also struggled to keep the Nuggets off the glass.

Denver outrebounded Portland 30-19 in the first half.

Midway through the second quarter, the Nuggets had second and third opportunities while the Blazers were down nearly 30 points at that point in the game. Denver finished the first half with 10 offensive rebounds. 

 

Not only was Lillard out, but backup point guard Anfernee Simons missed his third straight game. Simons has been dealing with a hamstring injury that he suffered in last Friday’s win over the Kings. Stotts says Simons is progressing and they are hoping to have him back for the first game of the regular season on Dec. 23.

The Blazers were down 82-48 as Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr. went up for an alley-oop dunk. Jones Jr. threw down the monster dunk, but when he came down he fell to the floor and was clearly shaken up by the play. The Blazers announced that Jones would not return to the game with what they are calling a back contusion.

The Highlight: A RoCo Rainbow three is a beautiful thing.

The Stat: Gary Trent Jr. led the charge off the bench with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting.

The Pic of the Night:

Getty Images

---

Next up: Portland will tip-off its 2020-21 regular season slate Wednesday, Dec. 23 at home against the Utah Jazz at 7:00p.m. PST on NBCSNW.