The Denver Nuggets (2-0) and Portland Trail Blazers (2-0) are set to meet in a Western Conference affair Thursday night inside the Rose Garden.
Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers
Denver has scored at least 115 points in its two victories to open up the 2011-12 season and has also covered the spread in each contest. The Nuggets have won two of the last three meetings in this series, but dropped a 107-106 overtime decision in the last meeting on Feb. 25, 2011 as 7.5-point road underdogs. Nene is getting a lot of attention this year and scored a game-high 25 points against the Utah Jazz last night. “Every night is a mismatch with him, as long as he’s aggressive,” commented Nuggets point guard Andre Miller. Denver is 16-23 ATS when playing on back-to-back days the past two-plus years.
The Nuggets have fared pretty well against the Trail Blazers inside the Rose Garden, posting a 9-9 record since the start of the 2002-03 season. Among all Western Conference opponents, Portland is one of only five teams that Denver owns a winning road record against during that time. Denver registered 27 fast break points in its win over Utah, which has historically led to victories for the franchise, tallying a 13-3 mark during the 2010-11 campaign when posting 20-plus points on the break.
Portland has also opened up its season with two victories and comes off a 101-79 win over the Sacramento Kings as 8.5-point home favorites last time out. The Trail Blazers and Nuggets split last season’s four meetings, with each team collecting both wins on its home floor. LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace have been the main contributors offensively, scoring 20-plus points for the second straight game in Tuesday’s win. Aldridge averaged a team-high 21.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in the four games versus the Nuggets a year ago. Portland is 6-16 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points the last two-plus years.
The Trail Blazers certainly have an experienced group on their roster, as four of the 15 players have played at least 10 years in the league. Of the 15 players, 11 were drafted in the first round and three were top two selections. Head coach Nate McMillan is certainly happy about the talent on his team and thrilled in having former Charlotte Bobcats star Gerald Wallace for an entire season. “Gerald, his energy is great,” commented McMillan this week. He will be a major player in this contest, averaging 23.3 points in his last seven games versus the Nuggets.
Bettors will likely back the Nuggets due to their 20-7 ATS mark on the road, while the Blazers are 1-6-1 ATS versus Western Conference opponents.
Recommendation: Denver Nuggets (+5)
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