Notebook: Blazers 101, Nuggets 93



Posted Dec 21, 2012 6:20 AM

By Kerry Eggers, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Denver went 0-for-22 from the 3-point line and Portland took full advantage in a 101-93 victory Thursday night at the Rose Garden. The Nuggets shattered the NBA mark for futility the Blazers set 10 days earlier by going 0-for-20 in a 92-74 win over Toronto. Nicolas Batum scored 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and Portland (12-12) held off a Denver rally to record its fourth straight win, all in the midst of a six-game homestand.

J.J. Hickson collected 18 points and 18 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double and 14th of the season for the Blazers, who led the entire way. They won without the services of leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge, sidelined by a sprained ankle, getting 20 points from Wesley Matthews and 12 points and 10 assists from rookie point guard Damian Lillard.

Andre Iguodala, Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer scored 13 points apiece and Andre Miller came off the bench for 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Denver (14-13), which saw an end to its three-game win streak.

QUOTABLE: "Weird. Ugly. We got the job done, but it was ... interesting tonight."
-- Nicolas Batum

THE STAT: Denver's 0-fer night from 3-point range broke the NBA record ... which was set 10 days earlier by the Blazers. Portland went 0-for-20 from 3-point range on Dec. 10 in a 92-74 win over the Kings.

THE STAT II: Portland, which made 14-for-36 3-point attempts, outscored Denver from beyond the arc 42-0.

THE STAT III: The Nuggets struggled to score anywhere but from close range, going 0-for-28 outside the paint before Lawson made a jumper with 38 seconds left.

TURNING POINT: Denver had closed what was once an 18-point deficit to 71-67 early in the fourth quarter. Then Batum scored five points in a seven-point Portland run to jack the lead to 78-67 with nine minutes left. The Nuggets closed to within three points a couple of times late, but the cushion was what the Blazers needed.

QUOTABLE II: "If you make threes, it's a different game — a totally different game. I don't think anybody took a bad three ... if you're going to have that line out there, you have to use it ... you need to shoot around 33 percent, and we were far from that tonight."
-- Denver coach George Karl

HOT: Matthews, who had played only 3 1/2 minutes in the previous three games due to a hip injury, came out smoking, sinking a pair of 3-pointers in the first five minutes and scoring 10 points in the first nine minutes.

NOT: One guess. You got it — the entire Denver team from 3-point territory.

GOOD MOVE: In the third quarter, Lillard and and rookie center Meyers Leonard hooked up for a sensational play. Lillard drove and dished to Leonard, who scored on a backhanded throwdown, then sank the free throw to convert a 3-point play.

BAD MOVE: Portland coach Terry Stotts failed to remove Hickson — a 61 percent free-throw shooter — from the floor in the final seconds when the Nuggets were fouling intentionally to stop the clock. Fortunately for the Blazers, they didn't foul Hickson.

QUOTABLE III: "Sometimes you throw the stats out. It's not how well we play, but how we play."
-- Terry Stotts

NOTABLE: With 74 points in the paint and 17 free throws, Denver had only one basket from outside the paint — believed to be an all-time NBA low.

UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Saturday vs. Charlotte, Tuesday @ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday @ L.A. Lakers. For the Trail Blazers, Saturday vs. Phoenix, Sunday @ Sacramento, Wednesday vs. Sacramento.