This matchup might just be one of the most exciting ones in the NBA Preseason 2020-21. The Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers are Western Conference playoff rivals and their games usually tend to be extremely close.
Fixture: Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets - NBA Preseason Game
Date & Time: Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 - 9 PM ET (Thursday, December 17th, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue: Ball Arena, Denver, CO
In the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets faced each other in the Western Conference Semi-Finals in a series that went to a Game 7. In fact, the matchup was so close that Game 3 of the series went into 4 overtimes, an NBA Playoff record.
However, these teams now feature re-tooled new rosters and will face each other twice in the NBA preseason.
Denver Nuggets Preview
The Denver Nuggets are coming off an incredible postseason run. They cemented their legacy in the NBA by becoming the only team to complete multiple 3-1 comebacks in the same postseason. The franchise is attempting to win their first NBA title and their hopes rest on the tandem of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic.
The Denver Nuggets have the opportunity to go on another historic postseason run and these preseason games are the perfect way to test their mettle and prepare the team for the 2020-21 NBA season.
Key Player - Michael Porter Jr.
Preseason games are a great way to get rookies and young players in rhythm before opening night. Since the 2020 NBA Playoffs, a lot of the attention has been on Michael Porter Jr. and his development with the Denver Nuggets.
Michael Porter Jr. was often talked about as the Denver Nuggets' third option after Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. The Denver Nuggets will probably give more minutes to Michael Porter Jr. to test his capabilities and more importantly, his durability, considering his long injury history.
Denver Nuggets Predicted Lineup
G Jamal Murray, G Gary Harris, F Michael Porter Jr., F Paul Millsap, C Nikola Jokic
Portland Trail Blazers Preview
The Portland Trail Blazers have been one of the top Western Conference teams for the last few years. However, the Trail Blazers had an injury-ravaged 2019-20 season but still fought their way to the 8th seed. The backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum took the team to the Western Conference Finals in 2018-19.
The Portland Trail Blazers look a lot better than they did last year. The team welcomed Enes Kanter back to their roster and re-signed veteran, Carmelo Anthony. With the roster now completely healthy, the Portland Trail Blazers are looking to reclaim their position as a top Western Conference seed.
Key Player - CJ McCollum
CJ McCollum is one of the most under-appreciated players in the league. The shooting guard has averaged over 21 points per game on 52% shooting in each of the last 5 seasons but has never made an All-Star game.
All eyes will be on CJ McCollum this season and his ability to elevate the Portland Trail Blazers' offense alongside Damian Lillard. He is an excellent ball-handler and is also a great shot creator. Many believe McCollum deserved an All-Star selection in the previous seasons and we may finally see him play his first-ever All-Star game if he continues to impress.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
G Damian Lillard, G CJ McCollum, F Robert Covington, F Carmelo Anthony, C Jusuf Nurkic
Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Match Prediction
The Portland Trail Blazers - Denver Nuggets game will probably be a close game, like the previous meetings between these sides. The two teams depend heavily on their star duos and the clash of Damian Lillard and Jamal Murray will be an interesting one. The Denver Nuggets have the better center in Nikola Jokic and we may see him dominate once again as he did in the first preseason game.
This matchup has no favorites and the result could go in either direction.
Where to watch Trail Blazers vs Nuggets?
The Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets game is locally televised on Altitude and NBC Sports Northwest. International fans can catch the game on the NBA League Pass.