Portland Trailblazers vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick – 29112

Portland Trailblazers +4.5 (38-22) at Denver Nuggets -4.5 (39-22) O/U 198.5 10:30 PM ET Thursday March 5, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at Predictem.com

Tonight the Portland Trailblazers head to the Mile High City to play the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are in the 3rd position in the Western Conference and the Blazers are right behind them in 4th and can take over the 3rd position with a win tonight. The Blazers are riding a 3 game winning streak and are 7-3 in their last 10 games, while the Nuggets are mired in a minor slump after losing 2 in a row and only being 5-5 on their last 10 games. The Blazers have proved they are legit, but can they do any damage in the playoffs? They need to start winning on the road, as they are 4 games under .500 away from the Rose Palace. Carmelo Anthony is back after serving a 1 game suspension for refusing to be subbed out of a game.

This season the Nuggets are 22-7 at home and the Blazers are 13-17 on the road.

Hoops bookies have the Nuggets as 4.5-point favorites with a total around 198.5. The Nuggets are posted at -200 as home favorites and the Blazers are posted at +170 as away dogs.

The Blazers come into this game after narrowly beating the Indiana Pacers last night 107-105. The high scorer in that game for the Blazers was Brandon Roy going for 28 points on 10/19 shooting. For the game the Blazers shot 38/84 for a FG% of 45.2%. On D the Blazers really missed Greg Oden in the middle, as they allowed the Pacers to shoot 43/83 for a FG% of 51.8%.

The Nuggets come into this game after losing to the Detroit Pistons 100-95 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Nuggets in that game was Chauncey Billups going for 34 points on 11/19 shooting. For the game the Nuggets shot 37/83 for a FG% of 44.6%. On D the Nuggets allowed the Pistons to shoot 34/72 for a FG% of 47.2%.

This season the Nuggets rank 7th in scoring (102.8 ppg) and the Blazers rank 16th (99 ppg). On defense the roles are reversed, as the Blazers rank 8th in points allowed (95 ppg), while the Nuggets rank 17th (100.4 ppg). The Blazers are one of the better teams on the glass this season, as they have a rebounding differential of +4.8 rpg, while the Nuggets are at +0.2 rpg.

This season the Nuggets are 33-26-2 ATS and the Blazers are 31-28. In terms of Over/Under games the Nuggets are 32-28-1 this season and the Blazers are 27-32.

On the injury front C Greg Oden and SG Martell Webster are Out for the Blazers and Carmelo Anthony is day-to-day for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets have lead the Pacific Division for most of the season, but if the Blazers win this game they will be in 1st place in the division and also leapfrog the Nuggets for the 3rd position in the Western Conference.

The Nuggets get Anthony (21.6 ppg) back tonight and the Blazers will be short-handed without starting C Greg Oden (9 ppg 7.2 rpg), who will miss a few games due to injury. Anthony has to have a good scoring game and ease the load off Billups (18.7 ppg), as it showed with Melo’s absence in Detroit that Billups can’t do it all since he scored 35 points and the Nuggets still lost.

The key for this game may be how Kenyon Martin and (12.2 ppg) Nene (14.8 ppg) play D against LeMarcus Aldridge (18 ppg). If they can shut down Aldridge inside and not let him dominate the glass the Nuggets will be in good shape. Brandon Roy will get his points, but he needs Aldridge to score inside since it will open up the perimeter for Roy to operate.

The Blazers will really miss Oden and his inside presence, as Joel Przybilla is a legit C, but he does not attack the rim and gets a lot of his points on mid range jumpers.

Chauncey Bilups has to dish out tonight to the other scorers of the Nuggets and spread the floor, as the Nuggets are more successful when he has a lot of assists.

The Nuggets will attack the rim all night with Oden out.

Jason’s Pick: I like Denver to beat up the Blazers tonight.