This week for the Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard is back and the Trail Blazers (13-11) take a two-game win streak into a light week of action from the friendly confines of Moda Center.
Portland isn’t in action again until Thursday evening, when they host the 14-9 Denver Nuggets. Denver will be looking to avenge a 135-110 loss to Portland back in late October. The Nuggets continue to be led by back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic, who is averaging 23 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists on the season. Jamal Murray has continued to round into form coming off his ACL injury, but Michael Porter Jr. is dealing with a sore heel that may keep him out of action.
After that, the Trail Blazers host the 11-12 Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Minnesota, already underachieving compared to preseason expectations, will be without star Karl-Anthony Towns for the next 4-6 weeks with a calf strain. With Towns out, the scoring load falls on Anthony Edwards, averaging 23 ppg, and D’Angelo Russell, putting up 15 a night. Despite adding defensive monster Rudy Gobert, the Wolves have the 18th ranked defense in the NBA.
Off the court, the Trail Blazers will be without Nassir Little, who will miss approximately six weeks with a hip injury. An update on Gary Payton II, who has yet to play after offseason core muscle surgery, is expected this week.