The Nuggets are third in the Western Conference and are guaranteed a top-4 seed The Trail Blazers, meanwhile, are sixth in the West and are placed a rung above the LA Lakers due to their superior head-to-head record against the defending champions this season.
The Denver Nuggets, who are on a three-game win streak, have gone 7-3 in their last ten games. In their previous outing, Nikola Jokic produced a 20-point triple-double in the win over the Detroit Pistons and is averaging 28.5 points in his last eight appearances. Markus Howard produced 20 points, while Michael Porter Jr. returned after missing a game.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers need a victory to finish sixth and avoid slipping into the play-in tournament. They are coming off a loss against the Phoenix Suns in their last game despite Damian Lillard producing 41 points and CJ McCollum bagging 27.
Denver Nuggets Injury Report
The Denver Nuggets are missing Jamal Murray, who has a torn ACL and is out for the season.
Murray has been the second-best player for the Denver Nuggets this season, after MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. But Murray last played against the Warriors at the start of the month. Meanwhile, Will Barton and PJ Dozier will also miss this game because of injury.
Portland Trail Blazers Injury Report
The Portland Trail Blazers have their fortunes in their own hands in terms of reaching the postseason without going through the play-in tournament. But in the event of a loss, they will need the LA Lakers to lose as well to hold on to their sixth place.
For this game, the Trail Blazers have most of their stars available except Zach Collins, who is expected to sit out due to an ankle injury.
Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineups
Aaron Gordon is expected to return to the lineup in this game. Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. should be the forwards, while Nikola Jokic is expected to start at center.
The 23-year old Vlatko Cancar got his first start of the season due to multiple absentees in the last game. Will Barton’s injury means Facundo Campazzo will likely start alongside Aston Rivers. That means Markus Howard could start from the bench.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers will likely play an unchanged lineup in this game. Their loss against the Suns was their first in five outings.
Robert Covington and Normal Powell have been in decent form, while Jusuf Nurkic has produced some of his best basketball of the season in recent weeks.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will likely be the guard pairing again. Both have been in prolific scoring form and will look to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a key win.
Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Facundo Campazzo | Shooting Guard - Austin Rivers | Small Forward - Michael Porter Jr. | Power Forward - Aaron Gordon | Center - Nikola Jokic.
Portland Trail Blazers
Point Guard - Damian Lillard | Shooting Guard - CJ McCollum | Small Forward - Norman Powell | Power Forward - Robert Covington | Center - Jusuf Nurkic.