National Basketball Association
Denver at Portland
When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon
The Portland Trail Blazers are the masters of their own destiny as they reach the final game of the regular season. The Trail Blazers need a win to assure themselves of the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference when they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.
Portland’s surge over the last two months has put it in position to face the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers with another win or a loss and some help, rather than beginning the postseason at the division-rival and third-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The Trail Blazers missed an opportunity to take more of the drama out of the race when they fell 106-105 at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday but went back into the driver’s seat when Dallas fell at the Clippers on Sunday. “We’re in and whoever we end up playing, that’s what it is,” Portland star Damian Lillard told reporters. “We want to push ourselves to get as high as we can and finish the season off the right way.” The Nuggets are headed for the lottery and followed up an impressive win over the San Antonio Spurs by losing the home finale 100-84 to the Utah Jazz on Sunday.TV:
10:30 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), KGW (Portland)ABOUT THE NUGGETS (33-48):
Denver dominated at home back when it was making the playoffs a few seasons ago but ended up with a losing record in the Mile High City this season. "I think 18-23 at home is poor,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone told reporters. “It's one less than they won last year so we took a step back in that area, which is disappointing. If you want to be a playoff-caliber team, if you want to be a competitive team, you have to protect your home court." The Nuggets ended up 1-3 on their homestand and will not finish any better on the road (15-25).ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (43-38):
Portland ranks as one of the biggest surprises among playoff teams due to its low preseason expectations after losing four-fifths of the starting five. The Trail Blazers have been performing as if they intend to make a deep run in the playoffs since early January and were upset at their effort level in Saturday’s loss to the Timberwolves. “We didn’t play as consistent or as urgent as we needed to in the second and third and fourth quarter after a good start to the game, so I mean it was a little frustrating,” Lillard told reporters. “Especially giving ourselves a lead at the end, to come down to three seconds and we need one stop. Basically because we didn’t deserve to win.”BUZZER BEATERS
1. Nuggets PF Kenneth Faried (rest) sat out the last two games and is questionable for Wednesday.
2. Trail Blazers C Mason Plumlee collected 15 points and 15 rebounds on Saturday for his first double-double in five games this month.
3. Portland took two of the first three meetings this season, and each of the games was decided by seven or fewer points.PREDICTION:
Trail Blazers 99, Nuggets 93
Stats and Records