It’s that time of the year when the Portland Trail Blazers are on fire and better than anyone else in the league. They have big wins over the Lakers and Jazz in the last week and are now facing off against the team that they’ve had a lot of trouble with this year, the Denver Nuggets.
If my coverage is a little sparse tonight and sometimes a bit incoherent I’m battling a nasty chest infection.
The Nuggets and Blazers are going to slug things out tonight by the looks of things. Hassan Whiteside has six points in the paint in the first six minutes of the game. Damian Lillard is in attack mode. He’s looking more to score in the paint over shooting threes tonight. He’s also working the midrange. He’s frustrating Nikola Jokic.
Jokic is wanting a foul called at almost every possession on each end of the court. He’s killing the Blazers tonight. He has 12 points already and Whiteside is doing a great job of guarding him and not fouling. He goes for the block high but is staying straight up when guarding him.
Nassir Little hits a three 10 seconds into his first trip out on to the court. His shot is looking so much better compared to a couple of months ago. He’s definitely the future at small forward.
Hassan goes to the bench and the staff are looking at his left knee or calf. Hopefully, it’s not his achilles. That would not be good for the Blazers. He’s been a big part of the Blazers’ success in the last few weeks. Actually the whole season. He’s been the anchor on defense. He should be considered for defensive player of the year.
Lillard is a man of fire tonight. He’s in attack mode. Going to church has brought the demons out of him.
The Blazers do not close out the quarter well and are down by nine, 37-28. This might need to be a game that Dame plays 40 minutes. Cj McCollum has started off slow again and had zero first-quarter points. Also to note that Whiteside was in pain on the sideline. Having his left knee or calf looked at.
The Nuggets are attacking the basket to start the second quarter and have three quick dunks.
The game has been really physical to start out and the Blazers have been getting hammered. CJ decides he’s going to shoulder check Torey Craig into the first row and gets the flagrant foul. So now we know the threshold for the rest of the game. I thought it was a good foul because Dame has been body checked two rows deep and Little was audibly slapped in the head on a layup and nothing has been called.
Oh boy, the Nuggets are just destroying the Blazers in most facets of the game tonight. They are getting killed on the defensive glass, Nuggets are getting to the glass at will, and that’s leading to wide open threes. They have held the Blazers to only six points nine minutes through the second quarter thus far. CJ is 1-7, Dame is 4-13, Melo is 0-3, the bench is a huge net negative.
Maybe they need to make a win-now trade but keep Whiteside.
Jerami Grant loves playing the Blazers, the Blazers do not love playing him.
CJ has come out aggressive, but so has Denver. The Blazers really needed to come out hot and cut this lead down, but the lead has extended to thirty in the first few minutes of the third. Carmelo Anthony fouls Jamal Murray pretty hard. Blazers definitely are not taking this lying down.
This is the worst I’ve seen the Blazers play all year. They had been hot and I think they might have got a little in their head so maybe this loss will set things going forward.
The Blazers offense did awaken in the third quarter, but their defense did not. Both teams scored 36 and the Blazers are down by 26 points at the end of the third quarter. Going to need a hell of a comeback in the fourth. Not sure they can outscore the Nuggets by 27.
Gary Trent Jr. is in double digits again. Anfernee Simons has been kind of cold recently. I think Trent is going to be a player in the league. A nice role player and will help out the Blazers big time next year.
The starters didn’t play the fourth quarter and the Blazers take on the Spurs on Thursday night at home.