Blazers/Nuggets Pre-Game
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/24/2009 12:36 PM

    For the third consecutive season, the Portland Trail Blazers (19-12) are hosting a Christmas Day game, this time against divisional foe, the Denver Nuggets (20-9). Denver defeated Portland earlier this season, in the second game of the season, at the Rose Garden 97-94 behind Carmelo Anthony's 41 points. This game is extremely difficult to gauge or predict, because each team could be with our without their most important player. Chauncey Billups has not played since December 16h as he is on the shelf with a strained groin and Brandon Roy tweaked his left shoulder Tuesday night in Dallas with each player's status listed as day to day.

    This will be one game where I will not look at Webster to provide offense as every Blazer fan knows, he must make life miserable for Anthony. Melo is putting himself on the short list for MVP by averaging 30.3 ppg, 6.1 rpg, and 3.3 apg as he is positioning the Nuggets for another #2 finish in the West. Portland certainly felt the impact of losing Batum during the 2nd game of the season, because there was no stopping Melo when he got squared up from about 15 feet out. As long as JR Smith is not on the court, the Trail Blazers should look to trap Anthony and make others beat us from the outside. Do not leave Smith open though as he is coming off of a 41 point outburst, including 10-17 from downtown. If trapping doesn't work, Webster should look to deny the ball from Melo as best as possible.

    As they should do for nearly every game the rest of the season, the Trail blazers must ugly up the game a little and play to their tempo. This does not mean we should abandon the running game, because Miller, Bayless, Webster, and Aldridge all thrive in the open court, but pick and chose our opportunities. If we want to continue to win with a short handed squad, we must take care of the ball, limit offensive rebounds, and continue to simply want it more by playing stout defense. Portland held Dallas 21 points under their season average, San Antonio 7 points below, and they must keep Denver underneath their 2nd best 108 points per game to have a chance.

    After predicting the team to go 0-2 against the Texas teams, I have learned my lesson. With or without Roy, I think this team can continue to play on this emotional high for one or two more nights if their leader needs a little extra time to heal. As long as Coach Nate gives Jerryd the green light to be the team's focal point, he definitely can cause havoc amongst the Denver guards. Billups is to slow to handle him and Bayless can shoot over the top of Lawson. Don't be surprised if Blake gets red hot this game, because his jumper is looking more and more fluid lately. Behind big games from Bayless and Aldridge, Portland will send their fans home with the best Christmas present of all. A win.

    Game 32 Prediction: Trail Blazers 101 Nuggets 97

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