Blazers at Nuggets
Time: 8 p.m. CT
Place: Pepsi Center, Denver
Radio: ESPN, 103.3 FM, Univision, 1270 AM (Spanish)
About the Mavs: They have lost their last six visits to the Mile High City and will be underdogs in this one as the Nuggets are one of several teams that feel like they have a legitimate shot to be playing in the NBA finals this season … The Mavericks are coming off their first loss after winning the first two games. They shot just 13-of-50 from 3-point range in the 121-119 loss to Portland at American Airlines Center on Sunday. Of their 263 shots, 126 (47.9 percent) have come from 3-point range … Of the players in the 10-man rotation, only Kristaps Porzingis (9-of-22, 40.9 percent), Delon Wright (3-of-4, 75 percent) and Seth Curry (5-of-11, 45.5 percent) are shooting them above a 33.3 percent rate … Luka Doncic is off to a terrific overall start, averaging 29.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists, leading the team in all three categories … Porzingis has averaged 26.3 points and 5.7 rebounds … A promising sign is that the Mavericks have tried 100 free throws through three games. That 33.3 attempts per game average leads the NBA and they are hitting 78 percent of them … This is the start of an eight-game stretch in which the Mavericks will play five road games.
About the Nuggets: Often, teams have to play on the West Coast and then fly into Denver, losing an hour and getting to the team hotel at 3 a.m. or later while facing the second half of back-to-back games in the thin air of the Mile High City. This time, it’s the Nuggets who are having to travel. They played in Sacramento on Monday night, where they won 101-94, which should leave the Mavericks with a rest advantage, in theory … The 3-0 Nuggets are led by do-everything big man Nikola Jokic, who last season averaged 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game while gaining his first all-star nod … They won all three meetings against the Mavericks last season by an average of just 6.3 points. Going back further, they have won eight of the last 10 meetings and the home team has won six of the last seven contests … The Nuggets still have not played Michael Porter Jr., who was the 14th pick in the 2018 draft but hasn’t played competitively since early in his freshman season at Missouri in 2017-18 … In a very small sample size so far this season, the Nuggets were in the top five in virtually every defensive category, including points per game (103.5, fifth) and defensive field-goal percentage (.405, fifth).