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Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets use red-hot 3-point shooting to edge Portland Trail Blazers

A busy 11-game slate, the first full gameday of the 2019-20 NBA season, was wrapped up with a clash between division rivals: the Denver Nuggets and the Trail Blazers in Portland.

These teams have seen plenty of each other of late. Including the playoffs and the preseason, the Nuggets and Blazers have faced-off in 10 of their last 12 games and just like their playoff series last season, this game was a back-and-forth entertainer.

In the end, unlike the 2019 playoffs, the Nuggets came out on top - 108-100.

Here are the biggest takeaways from the Blazers' home opener...

3-point disparity

The Nuggets outmatched the Blazers from beyond the arc by committee, with seven players knocking down at least two 3-pointers. The visitors, who were the 18th in 3-pointers made last season, knocked down 18 3-pointers in the win, at a league-high efficiency of 56.3 percent..

Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Paul Milsap led the way with three apiece.

Not only were the Nuggets red-hot from beyond the arc, but their opponents couldn't find the same touch from that distance, with Portland only shooting 7-of-28 (25.0%) from beyond the arc. Damian Lillard had a game-high three but only a total of three Blazers connected from long range: Lillard, CJ McCollum (2) and Rodney Hood (2).

Superstar duel

All-Stars from both teams put up numbers and came to play.

For Nikola Jokic, it came in limited minutes as he was forced to miss a large chunk of the first half with foul trouble, before an impressive showing in the second half, eventually finishing with a team-high +20. In his total 24 minutes of action, he registered a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds to go with two assists, shooting 8-of-14 from the field.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard performed just as expected. He finished with 32 points, eight assists and four rebounds on 10-of-21 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.

Set to play three more times this season, these inter-division contests look set to keep the entertainment coming.

CJ struggles but an impressive debut for Whiteside

Acquired in a trade over the offseason, Hassan Whiteside made quite the impression in his debut for the Blazers.

In 26 minutes, he finished with 16 points, 19 rebounds and a couple of blocks on 6-of-7 shooting from the field. Given the rest of the team, his 0 looks pretty good in the +/- category. There was a video of his defense - or lack thereof - against Nikola Jokic that went viral but nonetheless, it was a positive start with a lot of room for improvement.

CJ McCollum got his season off to a slow start, finishing with 12 points, three rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes on 5-of-18 shooting from the field. With nearly eight new players on the roster, the Blazers need both their guards to fire to ensure victory.

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