Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets Preview – Blazer's Edge
The Blazers host Will Barton and the Denver Nuggets tonight at the Moda Center. Both teams are on the second halves of back-to-backs after winning last night.
Denver Nuggets (28-45, No. 12 in the West) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (45-25, No. 4 in the West)Saturday, March 28Moda Center; Portland, OR | 7:00 p.m. PST | Local TV/Radio: KGWHD; 620 AMOut for the Blazers: Wesley Matthews | Out for the Nuggets: Darrell Arthur (day-to-day)SBN Affiliate: Denver Stiffs | Timmay’s Viewing Guide | Blazer’s Edge Night
The Blazers return home tonight after a 2-0 Southwestern road trip to host the Denver Nuggets. Both teams played last night, each earning a victory.
The Nuggets boast a stable of young, solid talent, but former coach Brian Shaw — who was let go earlier this month after leading Denver to a disappointing 20-39 record through early March — was unable to bring out the best in the roster. The Nuggets hit a high point in mid-January at 18-20, but the wheels soon fell off and the team went 5-19 through February before Shaw was eventually relieved of his duties.
Denver’s front office promoted assistant Melvin Hunt to interim coach, who immediately set out to change the attitude and culture around the team. Instead of the rigid and predictable old-school offense Shaw employed, Hunt gave his players the freedom to seek out their own best shots by making reads off each other and the opposing defense.
Hunt’s free-flowing offense has enabled seven of his players to average double-figure scoring over the course of his 14-game tenure at the helm, as his young team has responded well to his positivity, relatability and the liberties he’s provided them on the court.
The Nuggets have gone 8-6 in the three-and-a-half weeks since Hunt’s been in charge, pushing the tempo, attacking from outside and emphasizing ball movement and player spacing. Denver features Ty Lawson at point guard, one of the quickest players in the NBA. His ball-handling and ability to penetrate and either take it to the rim and find open teammates in space has been integral in the Nuggets’ late-season, mini surge.
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