Denver Nuggets

Gary Harris remains questionable to play at Portland Trail Blazers Monday

PORTLAND – Denver Nuggets starting shooting guard Gary Harris (right shoulder soreness) remains officially listed as questionable to play Monday night at Portland. Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Harris participated in portions of the team’s shootaround, but that his status will be a game-time decision.

“He’s definitely feeling better,” Malone said of Harris.

Harris is averaging 12.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 44.1 percent from 3-point range.

Should Harris miss another game, Will Barton would again slide into the starting lineup. Barton, who spent the first four seasons of his career with the Trail Blazers, totaled season highs in points (26) and rebounds (nine) in Saturday’s start against Orlando.

After Monday’s game, the Nuggets don’t play again until Friday’s home game against New Orleans.

Blazers report.  During Monday’s Nuggets shootaround, Mason Plumlee consistently interjected with names of play calls and other tidbits about the Trail Blazers that Malone dubbed “corporate knowledge.”

Plumlee was part of Portland’s roster even more recently than Barton, getting dealt to the Nuggets at last year’s trade deadline in the move that sent Jusuf Nurkic to the Trail Blazers.

“That’s invaluable to have a guy that can offer those kinds of insights,” Malone said.

Plumlee downplayed his latest return to Portland, saying “it’s just another game” for him personally but still important for his team because it comes against a divisional opponent. He highlighted Denver’s two losses to the Trail Blazers in last season’s first 10 games when he was on the other side of the matchup, including an overtime thriller in which Damian Lillard hit a game-winning floater just before the buzzer.

Plumlee said he expects the dynamic backcourt of Lillard and CJ McCollum — who combine to average more than 48 points per game — to do the “heavy lifting” Monday. The key, he said, is limiting the rest of the lineup.

“You can’t let a third guy get off, whether that’s (Maurice) Harkless or Nurkic or (Noah) Vonleh,” Plumlee said.

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