The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge's 39 points, 11 rebounds, and one huge assist. He had support from Damian Lillard (17 points, 6 assists), Wesley Matthews (15 points) and Steve Blake (13 points, 3 assists).
First Quarter: Portland attempted to open an early lead, but Denver had no interest in folding at tip-off. Portland's defense gave them a few leads thanks for some hot offense from Aldridge, but Denver would restore order quickly each time. After Lillard's second foul on Ty Lawson, the Nuggets grabbed a three point lead and forced Blazers coach Terry Stotts to call timeout. The Blazers didn't respond, as they were missing shots on offense, and a step slow on defense. Just by staying aggressive at both ends, Denver easily slid ahead by double digits late in the quarter before a late Blazer bucket. Denver 31, Portland 23
Second Quarter: More awful play by the Blazer bench led to multiple turnovers and a 12 point Denver lead. Every time Portland made a small run, Denver batted it back. The struggles of both Batum (passing up open shots) and the bench played a strong factor. Aldridge led the Blazers back to a 6 point deficit, and it was still the same at halftime. Denver had no answer for LaMarcus, who had 26 at the half. Score: Denver 56, Portland 51
Guess who thought it was a 7pm home game tonight!
Third Quarter: More of the same to open the second half, as the Blazers starters struggled to get going, while Denver hit shots from all over the court at the other end. Denver opened up a 14 point lead.. but forgot about Damian Lillard. He put on a personal 8-0 run in one minute, capped by a 4-point play. With their lead back down to 6, Denver quickly called timeout. Portland cut the lead all the way to 2 before giving up a fast-break three-point play. Portland's rhythm didn't recover, but they kept the game within reach. Score: Denver 85, Portland 78
Fourth Quarter: The Blazers turned the ball over and missed two layups. They quickly squandered all the gains they made in the third quarter, falling behind by double-digits again. Plus, Lillard picked up his fifth foul. The Blazers wouldn't easily go away though, cutting the deficit back to four again. Finally, Matthews hits his first three-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to one with four minutes left, then a Lillard layup pushed Portland ahead with 3:25 left. Denver regained the lead, but Aldridge followed it up with a three-point play. Former Blazer JJ Hickson tied it up with a jumper, and with Denver threatening to take the lead, Lillard stole a pass, and Aldridge scored for the lead. Arron Afflalo tied the game, and the teams went into the final minute at the same score.
With less than 30 seconds left, Matthews tipped a Lawson pass to give the Blazers control. they called timeout with 20 seconds left. Robin Lopez sealed off for a Lillard layup, but it somehow rimmed out, and the ball went out of bounds and back to Portland with 4.3 seconds left. The shot clock was off, and Portland had a shot for the win. They went to Aldridge, who zipped a pass inside to Lopez for a quick layup over Hickson with 1.3 seconds left!
Denver had one last shot though, down two. A three-pointer was way off, and the Blazers held on for a win despite an off-night for every player but one.
A night off at home for the Blazers, after which they host the Indiana Pacers Thursday night. Meanwhile, stay tuned here for Dave Deckard's analysis later.
With his 39-point game, LaMarcus Aldridge is now within 48 points of tying Terry Porter for No. 2 on #Blazers all-time scoring list.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) December 3, 2014
Shaw: thought the team did a good job of letting Aldridge get his points while limiting others— Jeff Morton (@jmorton78) December 3, 2014
Stotts said that was a designed play for Aldridge to feed Lopez at the rim. "Everyone knew what play we were going to run"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 3, 2014
Asked how many texts he got after his GM-winner Lopez said: "I haven't checked yet, but I assuming none because I have no friends" #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) December 3, 2014
Nicolas Batum hands Chris Kaman a stat sheet and says "See I can still impact the game without scoring"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 3, 2014
LA: "I saw RoLo had JJ on his back so I threw it to him. If I looked at RoLo & he wasn't completely open then I was going to take the shot"— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 3, 2014
That was your only assist of the night.. LMA: "Yep the biggest one. I do what I do."— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) December 3, 2014