Notebook: Nuggets 118, Trail Blazers 109



Posted Apr 14, 2013 9:49 PM

Michael Kelly, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Andre Iguodala had another solid all-around game with 28 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and the Denver Nuggets set an NBA franchise record in wins with a 118-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Rookie Evan Fournier had 24 points and Ty Lawson returned to the starting lineup with 12 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets, who won their 55th game of the season.

It's a potentially costly win for the playoff-bound Nuggets. Starting forward and leading rebounder Kenneth Faried suffered a severely sprained left ankle early in the game. While X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day, he did not make the trip to Milwaukee for Monday's game and his status for the start of the playoffs Saturday is undetermined.

It's the second time in 10 days Denver has seen a player crumble on the court. Danilo Gallinari tore the ACL in his left knee against Dallas and is lost for the season.

Still, the Nuggets had more than enough to send the Trail Blazers to their 11th straight loss. Damian Lillard led Portland with 30 points, and J.J. Hickson had 19 points and nine rebounds.

Denver kept its hold on third place in the Western Conference, a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers with two games to go. The Nuggets need to win both games to ensure they are the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.

QUOTABLE: "Usually when you're 55 you separate yourself, so I'm still my nervous self and worried self. You have four teams you could play and it probably won't be determined until Wednesday at 8 or 9 o'clock."
-- Nuggets coach George Karl.

THE STAT: The Nuggets set an NBA franchise record for home wins with 37 while extending their winning streak at Pepsi Center to 22.

TURNING POINT: The Nuggets led by 20 in the third quarter but a 12-2 Portland run made it a 100-96 game midway through the fourth. The Blazers got within three with 3:33 left but Lawson hit two free throws and Fournier hit a 3-pointer from the wing to push the advantage to 111-102 with 2:40 left.

QUOTABLE II: "We had a couple of turnovers down the stretch that they capitalized on. It seemed like every time we got within a few points they hit a three or got a steal. They did a good job answering our calls."
-- Lillard.

HOT: Iguodala has stepped up in the last two weeks to give Denver a much-needed boost as the injuries have hit. In his last five games he is averaging 16.8 points, 9.4 assists and 8.2 rebounds, including a triple-double against San Antonio on Wednesday.

NOT: Nuggets veteran Andre Miller had an off night. He scored just two points and had just one assist in 19 minutes.

INSIDE THE ARENA: The Nuggets hosted Military Appreciation Day and honored current and former members of the armed services throughout the game.

GOOD MOVE: The Nuggets didn't lose their focus after Faried went down with his ankle injury just 2:40 into the game. They quickly built a double-digit lead and took control of the game.

QUOTABLE III: "We're dropping like flies, man. It's not too serious I've heard. He'll probably be out for a week or something like that. He's a tough guy and he'll be ready for the playoffs."
-- Lawson, on Faried's injury.

BAD MOVE: Not much Terry Stotts can do when three of his best players are out with injuries. The Blazers look destined to match the franchise record of 13 losses with games remaining at the Clippers and home to Golden State.

QUOTABLE IV: "We played much better in the second half. The turnovers were a concern, especially in the first half. I liked the way we stayed with it in the second half, cut it to four, but Ty Lawson just made some plays we didn't have answers for."
-- Stotts.

ROOKIE WATCH: The Trail Blazers started four rookies and Hickson. With Fournier in the starting lineup for the Nuggets, half of the players on the floor at the tip were rookies. The young guys played well, combining for 90 points between them.

NOTABLE: The 55 wins are one better than the previous NBA mark for the franchise, which was set in 1987-88 and matched in 2008-09. ... The Nuggets have beaten the Blazers nine straight times at Pepsi Center and 23 of the last 25 in Denver. ... Portland is two losses shy of the franchise record for most consecutive losses.

UP NEXT: For the Blazers, Tuesday @ L.A. Clippers, Wednesday vs. Golden State. For the Nuggets, Monday @ Milwaukee, Wednesday vs. Phoenix.