PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 2 (Ticker) -- Rookie Sebastian Telfair created a spark in the fourth quarter. Zach Randolph and Nick Van Exel turned it into a fire.

Telfair scored nine points in the final period and Randolph and Van Exel combined for 11 points over the final two minutes as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied for a 97-94 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

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Denver lost the first time in four games under new coach George Karl.

"They fought hard," Karl said. "I don't think I helped them much tonight. My lack of understanding of them didn't help. The responsibility falls on my shoulders."

With his teammates struggling, Telfair scored nine of Portland's first 11 points in the fourth quarter. He buried a 3-pointer with 7:15 left to snap a 76-76 tie, giving the Trail Blazers the lead for good.

"The more minutes he plays the better he gets," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said of Telfair, who played just 15 minutes.

"Yesterday, the coaches and veterans got on me for not bringing any energy," said Telfair, who managed just one point against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. "I felt that I owed it to them so I went out there and played my hardest. Coach said there's no rookies out on the floor, everyone is an NBA player."

Randolph added a pair of free throws just over two minutes later before Miller hit a jumper with 4:25 remaining to cut the deficit to 83-82.

Just 2:25 later, Van Exel hit his fifth 3-pointer, sparking a 10-3 run.

Randolph hit 5-of-6 free throws and scored seven of the final 10 points for Portland, which has won three of its last five games.

"I'm still missing shots that I should be hitting," said Randolph, who went 0-of-12 off the bench in the loss against the Lakers. "I've never played like this before, but it's gonna happen. I'm just trying to get it together and play my game."

"Nice team effort," Cheeks said. "Nick carried us offensively in the first half, but this was a team effort, especially on the defensive end. I also think Randolph is learning to play within the flow that we established with our guards."

Van Exel scored 19 points in the first half and Randolph had 10 in the second quarter as Portland grabbed a 49-45 halftime lead.

After Van Exel buried his fourth 3-pointer just 1:45 into the third quarter, neither he nor Randolph scored for the next 17 minutes.

"Our offense got a little stagnant at times out there," Van Exel said. "We got it going a little more after that, but I would give our offense a C-plus."

Andre Miller, who is 6-2, used his size against 5-10 Damon Stoudamire and scored eight of his 27 points in the third quarter to give Denver a 70-68 lead entering the final period.

With a majority of Portland's remaining games at home, Van Exel thinks there is still a playoff run in his team.

"If we keep playing good and keep pulling out these wins, we feel confident that we can go on a little roll," Van Exel said. "Anything is still possible."

Denver's Carmelo Anthony, who missed a pair of potential tying free throws with 3:47 remaining, was held to seven points on 3-of-14 shooting.

"Those free throws I missed isn't something I usually do," Anthony said. "I just couldn't get it going offensively. I was trying to be unselfish and pass tonight, but it doesn't matter if the shots don't go in."

"We didn't get it done tonight," said Denver forward Kenyon Martin, who scored 12 points on 6-of-17 shooting. "We win together and lose together. We just have to keep on going."