Trail Blazers

Blazers drop another close one, this time to the Nuggets

Trail Blazers
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It was yet another close game at Moda Center Wednesday night.

The Nuggets, or more specifically Michael Porter Jr., caught fire early.

Porter Jr. was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field in the first quarter for 17 points, but the Blazers countered with Damian Lillard’s 13 points.

After picking their defensive intensity coming out of halftime, the Trail Blazers looked like a team determined to snap their two-game losing streak.

But, with the game once again coming down the final shot, Norman Powell couldn't get the potential game-winning floater to drop. 

Denver defeated Portland, 106-105.

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The Blazers took a 36-35 lead at the end of the first quarter. 

And with Denver going away from Porter Jr. in the second, the Nuggets struggled to score early in the quarter. However, it was Nikola Jokic who picked up the scoring late in the second running point and running right down the lane for easy buckets. Jokic also provided some necessary scoring in the paint and at the line down the stretch. 

 

The Nuggets held a 60-57 halftime lead.

After holding Denver to just 22 points in the third quarter, Portland had a two-point lead heading into the fourth.

The Blazers were without Derrick Jones Jr. (right hip) and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture).

For the Nuggets, Jamal Murray (left ACL; injury) and Monte Morris (right hamstring; strain) were out.

FINAL BOX SCORE: Nuggets 106, Trail Blazers 105

The Good:  

After missing three-straight games with right hamstring tendinopathy, Lillard looked in rhythm early, but had a hard time converting from deep after the first quarter. The Blazers point guard finished with 22 points and five assists.  

It was also a milestone night for Lillard.

At the 9:40 mark of the first quarter, Lillard made history. After the Nuggets left Lillard wide-open, he rose up and made his first three of the game. The make was the 1,989th made three-pointer of his career, passing Jason Kidd's mark of 1,988 for 10th all-time in NBA history. 

Carmelo Anthony got it going from the midrange to rattle off back-to-back buckets to help the Blazers take a 46-40 lead just five minutes in the second quarter. Melo finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

The Blazers held the biggest lead of the game with 10. 

 

The halftime chat seemed to energize the Trail Blazers on the defensive end. Portland forced a 24-second shot clock violation and had more deflections. 

The Bad: 

The Blazers three-guard lineup struggled to defend lengthy Porter Jr., especially early. 

To start the game, Porter Jr. ripped off 11 quick points. He had his way with the Blazers from inside and out, even when a lengthy defender like Nassir Little was on him. But that all changed in the second half. The Nuggets starting forward finished with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Blazers gave up a couple of costly turnovers to help the Nuggets stick around. 

Denver outrebounded Portland, 46-41. 

The Highlight:

Milestone reached for Damian Lillard:

The Stat: 

The Blazers bench outscored the Nuggets second unit 18-7 in the first half.

Next up: The Trail Blazers host the Memphis Grizzlies Friday and Sunday. The Blazers and Grizzlies tip-off at 7:00 p.m. PT Friday on NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers.