Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Friday, 02/25/11 AT 07:30PM

Preview: Revamped Trail Blazers Host Melo-less Denver Squad

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.6

    The trade deadline is over.

    And the Portland Trail Blazers (32-25) slimmed down their roster, while adding firepower before hosting the Denver Nuggets (34-25) at the Rose Garden on Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM.

    Portland, which trails Denver 2-1 in the season series, is looking end the last meeting of the year all squared up.

    On Thursday, the Trail Blazers closed a deal seven minutes before the 12 p.m. trade deadline that welcomed the Charlotte Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace to Portland in exchange for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and two first-round draft picks.

    The trade was completed a day after Portland’s six-game streak, its longest of the season, was snapped at home in overtime, 106-101, by the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

    LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 29 points and 14 rebounds, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews each scored 22 points and Brandon Roy made his return from knee surgery and chipped in with five points off the bench after logging a little over 15 minutes. 

    Portland can rebound in its third contest of a five-game home stretch, when it faces a Denver squad that recently parted ways with its All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

    The Nuggets, which have won two straight against the Trail Blazers and 23 out of the last 31 meetings, were also active in the trade fiasco, headlining the biggest exchange after sending its former star to the Big Apple. 

    Denver shipped Anthony, along with Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman to the New York Knicks on Monday for Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallnari, Timofey Mozgov, a first-round draft pick, two second-round selections and $3 million in cash.

    The Nuggets tested out their new pieces against Boston at home on Thursday and finished the fourth quarter on a 16-0 run to beat the Celtics, 89-75, behind 18 points and 10 rebounds from Kenyon Martin. Chandler had 16 points and five rebounds off the bench as Denver rolled to its third win in row. 

    Portland has won four of the last five matchups against Denver, including the 86-83 win on Nov. 18, when Aldridge, who’s averaging 29.1 points and 8.9 rebounds in the month of February, scored 24 points and 10 rebounds to open the series.   

    On Feb. 2, the Nuggets won their second straight matchup against the Trail Blazers after Nene, who leads Denver in scoring and rebounding with 15 points and 7.1 boards per game, recorded a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds  to finish on top 109-90 at the Pepsi Center.

    As for Wallace’s availability for Friday, Portland’s General Manager Rich Cho said in Thursday’s press conference following the trade announcement that his ability to play is dependent on the time it takes him to pass his physical test. He continued by stating the decision will ultimately be up to Trail Blazers’ Head Coach Nate McMillan. 

    The Trail Blazers will be without Marcus Camby, Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are all out with knee-related injuries.

    Martin did not travel with the team and will not play.

    Watch the Western Conference’s No. 7 Trail Blazers in action on Comcast SportsNet Channel 37 with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, and on ESPN. Also, listen to the live play-by-play from Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on 95.5 FM The Game.   

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