Nuggets Vs. Trail Blazers Preview: Who Needs Melo?

In the waning moments of the Denver Nuggets victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, the frenzied Denver faithful started in on a "Who Needs Melo?" chant. And with the way the team has been playing since Monday's blockbuster trade, the fans had a point.

After dismantling the Memphis Grizzles with a short-bench offensive outpouring on Tuesday night, the Nuggets should their new look and beat the Celtics on the defensive end.

Three of the four new Nuggets saw action on Thursday, with Danilo Gallinari getting the start at small forward, but the "New Nugget of the Night" award went to Wilson Chandler, and his 16 point, five rebound performance.

Tonight, though, the Nuggets travel outside of the Mile High City for the first time since the trade, to face a team one game behind them in the playoff standings.  Sitting at 32-25, the Portland Trail Blazers are coming off a loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Lakers that snapped six game winning streak.

The interesting thing about this matchup is that two of the Blazers are probably more familiar with George Karl's offense than the four new Nuggets. Andre Miller and Marcus Camby are both Nugget alumni, and two of the Blaers leading players. Miller leads the Blazers in assists and steals, while Camby is the team leader in rebounds and blocks. LaMarcus Aldridge leads the Blazers in scoring at 22.4 points per game.

Don't be surprised to see Wilson Chandler continue to get minutes. About Chandler, Karl told Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post,  "He plays hard, man. I'm a big fan of Arron (Afflalo's toughness), but I think Wilson has a great motor to be competitive, and his defensive instincts were very aware - he made some reads and helps that we haven't had in our front line a lot this year."

Consecutive late starts for the Nuggets, as tonight's game again tips at 8:30 p.m. MT and can be seen nationally on ESPN.

If you are in Denver and looking for a spot to watch the game with like-minded Nugget fans, stop by Jake's Food and Spirits for the Denver Stiffs "The Official Carmelo Anthony Going Away Party."

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