PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – After a 72-game marathon with as compacted of a NBA schedule that we have ever seen, the Trail Blazers tip off the “real season” on Saturday night in Denver.

On the unlucky side of the injury bug more often than not and seemingly more often than anyone else in the league, the Trail Blazers aren’t shedding any tears for the dinged up Denver Nuggets on the eve of game one.

Blazers get ready to face Denver in first round of NBA playoffs

Image: KPTV

While all-star guard Jamal Murray is our for the playoffs, Will Barton and P.J. Dozier have also been ruled out. Austin Rivers is listed as questionable. The Blazers haven’t been this healthy and this good since the bubble. Winners of 10 of 12 to earn the sixth seed in the West as are the pick by many to claim the series.

While Denver may have the league MVP in Nikola Jokic, the Blazers have Rip City royalty. Damian Lillard earned April’s NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his continued work away from the court by empowering young kids through his respect program at Parkrose, McDaniel and Roosevelt High Schools. In turn, a $10,000 gift from the league and Kaiser Permanente will be donated and delivered in the name of Dame to Special Olympics Oregon.

As a global ambassador for Special Olympics since 2013, Dame has been involved with the organization since he was 17-years-old.

"That's bigger than me. From the first experience I had, just seeing what it meant to the athletes and having the experience with people being mistreated with intellectual disabilities, it's just always been a part of me. It is something that I feel strongly about and something I give my time to to this day. Since day one dealing with Special Olympics, I always felt like smallest thing was appreciated to the max whether that was from the staff or the athletes, the kids, whatever, it went a long way with them and I think we all are willing to invest deeper and give more in places we are most appreciated," said Lillard.

Set your weekly agenda, Blazers vs. Nuggets Saturday night. Game two Monday in Denver. Then games three and four back in Rip City.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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