Despite a bucketful of turnovers, the Portland Trail Blazers successfully reach 3-0, holding off the Denver Nuggets, 111-102. Denver kept it close all night with timely steals (17 in all), but they couldn't put the game away. The Blazers finished on a 13-4 run.
The Blazers looked great in the first quarter, jumping to a double-digit lead. But just as they looked to pull away, Denver, led by Ty Lawson and Andre Miller, and a mountain of steals, slowly crawled back into the game. By halftime, the Blazers had squandered their lead away and the game was tied at 53.
Denver quickly jumped to a four point lead in the third, only for Wesley Matthews to nail four straight three-pointers. Both sides took that cue, and every player catches fire, for a fun stretch of hot shooting from all over the court. Denver kept pace, and the Blazers led by four after three.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth struggle between the teams, with the lead rarely reaching 5 points. Despite all of Denver's steals, the play of the game was Wesley Matthews (making up for his own turnover) stealing the ball from Ty Lawson on the break, leading to a Raymond Felton three-pointer for a 7 point lead with under 2 minutes left. After that, it was all over but the streamers.
All the starters contributed to the win. Matthews scored 25, Felton with 23 and 5 assists, and while Marcus Camby finished with 2 points, he added a big 12 boards and plenty of defense inside. Two days after a big game, Crash Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge had quiet nights, scoring 13 apiece.
Andre Miller returned to Portland to a nice Rose Garden ovation, scoring 13 points with 8 assists. Rudy Fernandez had a much cooler welcome from the crowd, struggling to finish with 7 points.
We'll have more shortly, stay tuned for Dave's recap and Ben's media row report. Enjoy a few days off, next game is New Year's Day against the Clippers. -- Tim