NBA Western Conference Odds: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets

The Trail Blazers can earn Jusuf Nurkic a lucrative bonus on Wednesday

The Trail Blazers can earn Jusuf Nurkic a lucrative bonus on Wednesday

The Nuggets would face the Oklahoma City Thunder if the playoffs began today, while the Blazers would square off against No. 5 Utah with the home court advantage.

What: Blazers vs. Nuggets, 7:30 p.m.

The Rockets also have one of the better front-courts in the National Basketball Association with Clint Capela averaging 16.6 points and 12.6 rebounds per game and the emergence of Kenneth Faried providing the team with 10.6 points per game. The Trail Blazers are 50-and-28 on the season and one half game back of the Rockets for third in the Western Conference.

Denver defeated the San Antonio Spurs 113-85 Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center, ending a rough stretch in which it had lost four of six games. Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 14 points after halftime. Since missing the first 38 games of the season after undergoing right hip/core muscle surgery, he has played in 39 games. Jokic has logged 12 triple-doubles this season, second-most in the National Basketball Association. The starting center is averaging a career-high 7.4 assists, which ranks eighth in the league. The Blazers have won its past two outings and eight of its last 10 games and boast a better win differential than either Denver or Houston at +4.3. The Nuggets have reached 50 wins for the ninth time in franchise history and first time since 2012-13 - the last time they played in the postseason. Then again, the Blazers will be without both CJ McCollum (left knee) and Jusuf Nurkic (left leg) and Seth Curry is questionable (left tibia soreness), all of whom played in the first two meetings, which might lead one to downplay the importance of the final two games of the series. Collins averages almost a block per game in just 17 minutes a night, and he is also averaging almost seven points and four rebounds per game. "If you're a 50-win team, I think that really speaks a lot about what you've done in the regular season and the success you've had", Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said after Wednesday's win. Lillard has recorded 2,003 points and 530 assists this season. It's the second season Lillard has surpassed 2,000 points, joining Drexler as the only players in franchise history to reach the mark a couple of times.

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For the Nuggets, this is not a new trend as they have done very well on the back end of back-to-backs this season.

The Blazers are putting up 114.6 points per game on offense this year while shooting 46.6 percent as a team.

So while it's common for players and coaches to revert to old cliches about every game carrying the same importance, a few were willing to state after Friday morning's shootaround in Denver that the next two games do, in fact, feel a bit bigger.

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