The Denver Nuggets (15-8) find themselves limping into the Rose Garden to play the Portland Trail Blazers (13-10) after starters Timofey Mozgov and Danilo Gallinari both suffered injuries in a loss to the L.A. Lakers on a snowy Denver night.
Tip-off in this matchup is set for Saturday,10:00 pm ET in Portland, Oregon.

Despite the injuries, NBA odds are listed and have the Trail Blazers as a 6.5 point favorite and the total is 200.5.



Denver injury situation

Center Timofey Mozgov will definitely be out for Saturday's game as he injured his ankle after scoring a basket. He's listed as day to day. Danilo Gallinari got accidentally (sure seem's to happen often) poked in the eye by Metta World Peace of the Lakers (Lakers and Jazz pick). Gallinari had to have his contact replaced as the Lakers were gaining momentum. Due to blurry vision, Gallo sat out the rest of the game with just 6 points on 1 for 9 shooting. He's listed as day to day. Look for the Gallinari to play against Portland but proceed with caution until it's confirmed

Brandon RoyTrailblazed?

The Portland Trail Blazers come into this game as a decent sized favorite but they didn't fare so well in their last outing. The Blazers gave up a 9 point first half lead and were outscored by the Kings 48-36 in the 2nd half of a 95-92 defeat to the 7-15 Sacramento Kings. 

Sacramento dominated at the charity stripe, making 22 out of 29 free throws while the Blazers hit just 50% of their 16 attempted free throws. LaMarcus Aldridge was a bright spot for the Blazers as he finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds

Now, it's time for Saturday night action at the Rose Garden. Which team can overcome their poor showing from their previous game?

Home sweet home

Portland has coming up smelling like roses as they're 10-1 at the Rose Garden this season. In their last 4 games at home, they've outscored their opponents by an average of 26.8 points per game. The Blazers have already beaten the Nuggets in an earlier meeting at the Rose Garden this season, 111-102.

Dominating force

At 6 foot 11, 246 pounds and with a world of offensive talent, the Nuggets are left with a void due to the Mozgov injury. LaMarcus Aldridge has been on fire lately and Denver has nobody that can defend against him. Aldridge has scored in double figures in every game this season although his lowest scoring output came against Denver with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists. This can be excused as it was just the 3rd game of the season and players were still attempting to get into gameshape. 

On the season, Aldridge is averaging 22.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the model of consistency and look for another big performance from this bigtime superstar.

Wakeup call?

Another player to keep an eye on is guard Wesley Matthews. Matthews has played poorly in his last 3 games, averaging just 7 points and 3 rebounds on just 10 of 30 shooting from the field. Matthews's biggest game of the year came against Denver earlier in the season in where he had 25 points and 5 rebounds on 5 of 8 shooting from 3 point range. Could a game against the tired and battered Nuggets get Matthews back on track?

Gallo is a question mark

Along with his status for the game (although he should play), Denver's leading scorer Danilo Gallinari has been playing inconsistent basketball lately.

In a loss against Memphis, Gallinari shot 1-10 from the field and coach George Karl took him out of the game prematurely. Although the game went into overtime, he didn't put Gallinari back in. Gallo then avenged a poor outing against Memphis with a spectacular performance against Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nuggets defeated the Clippers on the road as Gallinari was a perfect 5 for 5 from 3 point range and totaled 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Gallinari then proceeded to revert back to his old ways and put up a stinker against the Lakers, shooting 1 of 9 from the field for 6 points in 28 minutes before his injury.

At this point, the Nuggets don't know what they're going to get out of their leading scorer and whether he'll even play in the game is still up in the air.

A spark off the bench

Look for veteran forward Al Harrington to get a large amount of playing time in this game. He's coming off of a 24 point and 8 rebound performance against the Lakers and has played well overall. Harrington also had a big performance in a tough loss to Memphis in where he had 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Harrington has upped his seasonal average from 10.5 points and 4.6 rebounds last season to 15.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season. If Al Harrington get's the playing time, he usually play's well for the NBA's leading offensive team. Expect him to get time here.

Key head to head trends

  • The favorite is 7-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings
  • The home team is 7-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings
  • The Nuggets are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings at Portland

What to look for?

Denver is coming off of a tough loss where two key starters were injured and as I've stated earlier, you don't know what you're going to get from Gallinari. Portland has had the extra day's rest, is playing at home, and LaMarcus Aldridge should be a dominant force as he's been all season. Take the Blazers and lay the points in your NBA picks.

Saturday night NBA Pick: Portland -6.5