Denver Nuggets' Gary Harris likely to return from right knee sprain tonight

Credit-Isaiah J. Downing  USA Today Sports

Portland comes into the game with records of 48-32 straight up (SU) and 44-29-7 against the spread (ATS).

Expect this one to be a clinic on boxing out as two of the NBA's top rebounding teams clash.

DENVER (AP) - The Denver Nuggets are playing playoff-caliber basketball.

Denver ranks third in second chance points allowed per game (10.9) while Portland ranks ninth (11.5).

Jokic scored 15 points, pulled down a season-best 20 rebounds and had 11 assists.

The Trail Blazers, who lost for the fourth consecutive time, were in it until the very end, but Jusuf Nurkic, who had 20 points and 19 rebounds, missed one of two free throws with 47 seconds left and Jamaal Murray sank two free throws with 30 seconds left to put Denver ahead 84-80. They are just a game ahead of Utah and two games ahead of three other sides, and with a game against the Jazz to follow this one, could still feasibly drop into the bottom half of the Western Conference playoff spots. Trail Blazers games tend to go under the projected point total (55.0 percent). "And that's been an issue for us as of late".

Harris has been out since March 15 with a knee injury but is ready to get back in action and help the Nuggets try to sneak into the playoffs. In his previous two games against Portland though, he struggled, averaging just 12.5 points and going 1-for-12 from long range.

Harris suffered a right knee sprain that was initially supposed to sideline him for three-to-four games. "What he offers on the court is unique, as far as his rebounding, his screen setting, his finishing around the paint, all those things", Stotts said.

The Nuggets upgraded Harris to questionable on the injury report. "And I felt we played like our lives were on the line", Malone said. "I'm not going to mess with our starting lineup right now". He has jumped significantly in all major statistical categories this season to average 16.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists, and shoot 45.3% from the floor and 38.3% from beyond the arc. JOKIC HONORED: Malone said Jokic's Western Conference player of the week award is really a team honor. Jokic averaged 23 points, 10.3 rebounds, 9 assists, 2.33 steals and a block while helping Denver go 3-0 during the week.

On Monday night - roughly 3 1/2 years after getting booed at home - Harris took the court once again against the Trail Blazers. Nuggets: At Minnesota on Wednesday night in their regular season finale.

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