National Basketball Association
Preview
Denver at Portland
When: 10:00 PM ET, Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Where: Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

The Portland Trail Blazers are scorching-hot with an 11-3 record in March and tied the visiting Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Portland attempts to overtake visiting Denver in Tuesday's contest at a time when the Nuggets have dropped three of their last five games.

Denver is coming off a dreadful 115-90 home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday and the visit to Portland is the opener of a five-game road trip. "It's going to be fun," Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson said the game against the Trail Blazers. "Obviously it's going to be a playoff atmosphere. It's going to be a fun game and we'll see what happens." Portland guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have fueled the recent charge that continued with Sunday's 97-81 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. "We wanted to get to this point since the All-Star break," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "We put ourselves in a good position, but our hardest work is ahead of us."

TV:
10 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), CSN Northwest (Portland)

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (35-38): Denver coach Michael Malone was highly agitated after the drubbing by the Pelicans and sharply criticized his club. "It was an awful effort but this is not who we've been, which gives me hope that we can turn the page and get back to being who we've been lately," Malone told reporters. "We've been a very good team lately, one of the best teams in the NBA. But (Sunday), obviously, for whatever reason, we just did not have that competitive fight, the energy, the sense of urgency that you really need to have right now." The rest of the Nuggets' road trip includes stops in Charlotte, Miami, New Orleans and Houston."

ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (35-38): Point guard Damian Lillard saw his streak of eight straight 25-point performances end with 22 points against the Lakers but is averaging 36.3 points against the Nuggets this season. Stotts attempted to downplay the meetings with the Nuggets, perhaps to limit the amount of pressure his team might feel. "Obviously, it takes on significance when you are playing the team you are tied with," Stotts said. "So it's important, but after that one is over the next one is going to be more important."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. McCollum is averaging 22.3 points as the Trail Blazers won two of this season's first three meetings.

2. Denver C Nikola Jokic scored eight points on 4-of-14 shooting versus after having 30 on 12-of-18 shooting against Indiana two nights earlier.

3. McCollum was limited to 13 by Los Angeles after reaching 20 points in nine of the previous 11 games.

PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 117, Nuggets 112
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Denver 35-38 L1 21-18 14-20 2-1 33-37 5-8 20-25
Portland 35-38 W3 19-15 16-23 3-2 32-36 8-3 22-21
Last Meeting
Denver Portland
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
12/15/16 POR 120 DEN 132 132 36 51.2 120 41 46.6
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Denver D. Gallinari 27 61.5 8
Portland D. Lillard 40 59.1 10
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Denver K. Faried 9 2 7
Portland E. Davis 7 4 3
Assists Player  
Denver G. Harris 6
Portland D. Lillard 10
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Denver N. Jokic 1117 57.5 175
Portland D. Lillard 1955 45.0 464
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Denver N. Jokic 664 204 460
Portland A. Aminu 429 69 360
Assists Player  
Denver J. Nelson 388
Portland D. Lillard 418
Quickchart Matchup
Denver Denver Off vs  Portland Portland Defense
Denver Off vs Portland - Points For 111.4 Points For
Denver Off vs Portland - Points Against 109.0 Points Against
Denver - FG% 46.8 FG%
Portland - FG% 45.3 FG%
Denver - Reb 46.3 Reb
Portland - Reb 43.9 Reb
Portland Portland Off vs  Denver Denver Defense
Portland Off vs Denver - Points For 108.0 Points For
Portland Off vs Denver - Points Against 111.1 Points Against
Portland - FG% 46.1 FG%
Denver - FG% 47.9 FG%
Portland - Reb 43.9 Reb
Denver - Reb 40.4 Reb