Denver, Colo. -- The Portland Trail Blazers have arrived in the Mile High City for their first game of a back-to-back to take on a Denver Nuggets team that has won five straight games and who has took six of its last seven games.
To say the Trail Blazers (20-17) have struggled here in Denver as of late would be an understatement. They have lost seven consecutive games in Denver and their last win was on Dec. 16, 2007.
“It's a tough place to play at. Everyone knows that. It's always been that way,” Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge said.”
This Nuggets' team is as balanced as they come in this league. They got six guys averaging double-digits in points and almost a seventh (Andre Miller 9.2 ppg). Danilo Gallinari leads the team with 16.5 points a game and Kenneth Faried is averaging a double-double – 12.2 points and 10.2 rebounds.
“They are a team that is playing pretty good right now,” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said. “It's going to be a tough game, but we have to come ready early to have a chance.”
The Nuggets (23-16) are playing their first game of a back-to-back, as well.
This is the second meeting between these division rivals this season. They faced-off on Dec. 20 resulting in a Trail Blazer 101-93 victory at the Rose Garden. It was the game the Nuggets went 0-for-22 from three-point range, setting an NBA record for most three-point attempts without a make, breaking the Trail Blazers record of 0-for-20 from deep set just 10 days earlier.
Also in the same game, the Nuggets only made one field goal that wasn't in the paint. That has never been accomplished in NBA history.
“It was a crazy game,” Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said. “They dominated us in all major categories and we were still able to win the game. It helped that they shot 0-for-22 from three.”
The Trail Blazers are currently on a two game losing streak, something they haven't experienced in over a month. The Nuggets are sixth in the Western Conference standings and the Trail Blazers are eighth, two games behind the Nuggets.
If the Trail Blazers really want to be a playoff contending team, taking care of games like tonight is a must.
“We got to have it,” Aldridge said. “It's a division game and we're both in the playoff picture. It's important.”
Tonight's game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet at 6 p.m. followed by a brand new edition of “Talkin' Ball.”