Blazers Outlasted By Nuggets In Second Game Of Back-To-Back In Denver

by Casey Holdahl
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DENVER -- The road has not been kind as of late to the Portland Trail Blazers.

After getting blown out Monday night in Phoenix, the Trail Blazers turned in a much better effort the next night in Denver, yet they still ended up losing 111-106 Tuesday at Ball Arena.

“I thought it was a competitive game,” said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “I thought the game kind of slowed down in the second half. Their two best players played great. Jokic does a little bit of everything -- inside, outside, threes, passing -- and Murray had an outstanding fourth quarter.”

The Trail Blazers are now 18-13 overall and 10-7 on the road this season. They have now lost three-straight and the first two games of a three-game road trip that concludes Friday in Los Angeles.

After going down by as many as 11 points in the first quarter on the second night of a back-to-back, Portland got a boost from Carmelo Anthony in the second quarter to get back into the game. The veteran forward put up 16 points in the quarter on 6-of-8 shooting versus the team that selected him with the third pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, allowing the Blazers to outscore the Nuggets by nine and go into the intermission tied at 57-57.

“We rode Melo in the second quarter,” said Stotts. “He was outstanding in the second quarter.”

Portland and Denver went blow-for-blow for the entirely of the third quarter -- the score was tied on four different occasions and neither team led by more than six -- and for the first half of the fourth. But the game would turn when the Blazers went scoreless from the 5:39 to the 1:47 marks of the fourth quarter.

And while the Nuggets weren’t exactly lighting it up, Portland’s dry spell allowed for an 8-0 run that ultimately tilted the game in Denver’s favor.

“We just didn’t hit shots,” said Derrick Jones Jr. of Portland’s fourth quarter. “We didn’t hit shots that we usually hit. So, we just have to go back to the drawing board. Just watch the film and see what we did wrong today. Just try to get better for the next game.”

Lillard finished the game with 25 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds in just under 35 minutes. Derrick Jones Jr. had his best scoring night of the season, going 7-of-9 from the field and 2-of-3 from three for 18 points while also contributing five rebounds and three blocks in 29 minutes.

Anthony ended the night with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting and also tallied four rebounds, an assist and a block in 32 minutes. Enes Kanter had has hands full trying to slow Jokic, though he managed to get back 16 points and 14 rebounds on the other end. Gary Trent Jr. scored 18 points in 34 minutes.

Jokic led all scores with 41 points on 17-of-32 shooting to go with five rebounds and five assists in 37 minutes. Murray scored 12 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter.

Next, the Trail Blazers have two days off in Los Angeles before facing the Lakers for the second time this season at Staples Center. Tipoff is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.

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