NUGGETS AT TRAIL BLAZERS, 10:30 P.M. ET

TV: ESPN

  • Denver’s starting small forward, Danilo Gallinari, will sit out his second straight game with a thigh injury. Wilson Chandler – who scored a team-high 23 points in Saturday’s 119-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers — will start in Gallinari’s place. Chandler returned Jan. 18 after missing the first 35 games following hip surgery. “He’s getting his confidence back along with his conditioning,” Denver coach George Karl said. “He started missed 6-7 months of basketball. You don’t find your edge in this game in a short period of time. And the trade deadline affected him a little bit. Once that went by, he regained confidence that he could be a big part of our team.”
  • The last time these teams met at the Rose Garden — on Dec. 20 — Denver set an NBA record for futility by missing all 22 3-point attempts in a 101-93 loss. The Nuggets, on the other hand, scored 74 points in the paint off 38 baskets, meaning only one field goal was made outside the key area. “We could have won it down the stretch despite an incredibly bad shooting night,” Karl said. “Our forte is not making 3s, but we cannot be as bad as that. I promise you we’re not going to go 0 for 22 tonight.” Limiting Denver’s points in the paint “is the focus of every Denver opponent,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “That’s what (the Nuggets) do well, and we’re going to try to limit that. A lot of their paint points come in transition. We’ll try to limit that, too.”
  • Depth is Denver’s strength and Portland’s weakness. “Our starting five is fourth plus-minus in the league and theirs is sixth,” Karl said. The Blazers “ride ‘em. They have three great perimeter guys (Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews), an all-star big guy (LaMarcus Aldridge), and (J.J.) Hickson has better numbers than our Kenneth Faried. Our starters have to do a good job of playing their starters even, and hopefully our bench will go at them after that.”
  • The last times the teams met, the Nuggets won 115-111 in overtime at home on Jan. 15. “They want it to be a track meet,” Stotts said. “I would like to get out and run as well, because they give up points just as much. But the Nuggets don’t go away. They keep coming at you.”

Kerry Eggers

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