Blazers drop season opener to Nuggets, 108-100: Recap
PORTLAND, Ore. - A playoff feel for an opening-night game? That seems likely when the Portland Trail Blazers play host to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.
The last time these teams met (outside of this preseason), the Blazers outlasted the Nuggets 100-96 in Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals, earning their first trip to the conference finals since 2000.
In Portland, the big questions include how the Blazers will adapt to the absence of center Jusuf Nurkic (out indefinitely with a broken leg suffered late last season) and how a batch of newcomers will fit in and complement star guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.RELATED: How to watch Blazers vs. Nuggets
Hassan Whiteside is expected to be Portland's primary center while Nurkic continues to mend, though Whiteside sprained an ankle in the Blazers' preseason finale vs. the Nuggets. If he's able to go - he says he will - Whiteside will start Wednesday on a front line that includes small forward Rodney Hood and power forward Zach Collins, both holdovers from last season.
The Blazers' reserves include guard Kent Bazemore and second-year pro Anfernee Simons, along with forward Mario Hezonja, another offseason addition. Veteran forward Anthony Tolliver likely will be the fourth man off the bench. Center Skal Labissiere has played his way into a possible spot in the rotation, at least with Pau Gasol (foot injury) still unavailable.RELATED: 'It's always Dame Time': Damian Lillard stars in new ESPN SportsCenter commercial
KGW's Orlando Sanchez is covering the game at the Moda Center. We'll be posting all of his updates from the game as it unfolds.
Fourth quarter: Nuggets beat Blazers 108-100
Nikola Jokic played just three minutes in the first half but he's making up for it in the second half with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Pushing Denver to a late fourth-quarter lead.
What a debut for Hassan Whiteside.
In the second half, head coach Terry Stotts has staggered the minutes of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. That let McCollum start the fourth quarter with the reserves and Portland scored the first five points of the final frame.
Third quarter: Blazers 74, Nuggets 73
Damian Lillard helping keep Portland in it, cutting the lead to one with the 3-pointer with just under three minutes left in the third quarter.
Midway through the third quarter, the Nuggets are shooting 60% from the 3-point line, making 12 of 20. The Blazers have made 4 of 15 (27%).
Second quarter: Nuggets 54, Blazers 50
The Nuggets outscored the Blazers 30-23 in the second quarter and take a four-point lead at halftime. The Blazers, who shot just 40.5% from the field in the first half, were led by Hassan Whiteside's 10 points and 11 rebounds.
With a couple minutes left in the second quarter, Hassan Whiteside got his first double-double of the season. Not a bad start for the Blazers new center.
Shortly after Zach Collins went to the bench, Denver's Jamal Murray hit a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets their biggest lead of the game, 49-39, with 4:04 left in the second quarter.
Anfernee Simons started 1 for 4 from the field but his one field goal was something special.
First quarter: Blazers 27, Nuggets 24
Damian Lillard with the play of the season so far. It might stand as one of the best plays of the entire season when it's all said and done.
Two of the Blazers new players, Anthony Tolliver and Kent Bazemore, were the first two players to come off the bench for Portland. About 30 seconds later, Skal Labissiere came in for Hassan Whiteside, who picked up his second foul around the 4-minute mark. Mario Hezonja was next, coming in for CJ McCollum.
Hassan Whiteside with a strong start for the Blazers. He gets the first points of the season for Portland and draws three quick fouls against Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.
The season is underway!
We won't spoil it. But it's worth watching!
Blazers star Damian Lillard addresses the crowd before the game. "You truly make a difference in every game and every season. Hopefully we can continue that and have our best season ever. Let's go, Rip City!"
Blazers center Hassan Whiteside shows off some hops in pregame warmups.
Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic approved of Orlando's video showing Nurkic's arrival at the Moda Center.
Orlando shared videos of other Blazers arriving at the Moda Center pregame, including CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside.
Portland Trail Blazers President Chris McGowan said he believes Portland will one day host an NBA All-Star Game, and was very complimentary of Salt Lake City, after the NBA announced Salt Lake City would be the host city for the 2023 NBA All-Star contest. Portland has never hosted.
Watch the entire interview with McGowan. He speaks about the 50th anniversary season, opening at home, and expectations for the team.
Orlando and KGW anchor Dan Haggerty enjoy the sunshine outside the Moda Center before the game.
Orlando shows off his game day kicks. 🔥 New radio play-by-play announcer Travis Demers showed he's got sneaker game, too.
Blazers players, including Zach Collins, Kent Bazemore and Damian Lillard speak about the season opener against the Nuggets.
PORTLAND, Ore. - A playoff feel for an opening-night game? That seems likely when the Portland Trail Blazers play host to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. The last time these teams met (outside of this preseason),
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