Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Wednesday, 10/17/12 AT 07:00PM

Trail Blazers Host Nuggets In Preseason Home Opener

10/17/12
  1. Written by: erikgundersen

    Having lost two straight road preseason games, the Portland Trail Blazers (1-2 preseason) come home to face the Denver Nuggets (3-0).  This will be the first game in front of the Rose Garden faithful for many of this team, except Damian Lillard who is sitting out due to a bruised foot. Tipoff is scheduled for 7PM on CSNNW and 1190 KEX.

    Last season, the Trail Blazers won the season series against the Nuggets 2-1.  At the trade deadline last season, the Nuggets traded away Nene after signing him right before the season to a five-year deal. In return, the Nuggets got the talented but at times frustrating JaVale McGee from Washington. This move made them younger and more athletic. They took the Lakers to seven games in the first round of the playoffs, with McGee playing a major part in the Nuggets staying in the series.  

    After being so close to advancing in the playoffs, the Nuggets decided that they needed to make another move. The Nuggets brought in perennial all-star and Team USA member Andre Iguodala from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of a four-team deal, which sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers, Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia and Aaron Afflalo to Orlando. Iguodala brings athleticism, creativity offensively and defensively to a team already rich in those areas. Iguodala had a career-high three-point percentage last year, shooting 39%, but outside of him, the Nuggets need to find consistency from deep. It may be their biggest weakness outside of having a true “go-to guy” late in games.  They have a surplus of talent and athleticism on the wing, as well as length and rebounding in the interior. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they use that depth to acquire a shooter at some point this season. The Nuggets will certainly be looking to run, as they played at the second highest pace in the league last season.

    Tomorrow will be tough for the Trail Blazers. Portland will be without their starting and back-up point guards going against Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, one of the best starter/back-up point guard tandems in the league. LaMarcus Aldridge will face a myriad of Denver big men including Kenneth Faried and the aforementioned McGee. Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews will certainly have their hands full against Iguodala, Danilo Gallinari and Denver’s other talented wings. This will be a tough test against a very good team and this will likely be the best team Portland will face in the preseason.

    Nolan Smith will get his first start at point guard this preseason and it will be against one of the better point guard duos in the league.  Smith, and the rest of the Trail Blazers, will need to bring a great game against a very talented team to win. Nonetheless, it provides an opportunity for the team to improve against a team that many see as a contender in the Western Conference.

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