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NUGGETS SPOIL NURKIC RETURN TO DENVER
PORTLAND – Portland fell just short in its attempt to extend a three-game winning streak, when Jamal Murray and the Nuggets escaped with a 104-101 win in front of 14,474 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Murray’s 38 points, on 14-19 shooting, marked a new career best.
The Trail Blazers move to 25-22 on the season, including an even 12-12 record on the road. Portland has now lost four straight road contests, as the home team has won each of Portland’s last seven games.
It was a happy homecoming for Jusuf Nurkic on the stat sheet, if not the scoreboard. Nurkic tallied 19 points and a team-high 12 rebounds as he returned to his former NBA home for the first time since joining the Trail Blazers in February of last season.
A back-and-forth game ended with a finish to match as the lead changed hands three times in the last 1:26. After Damian Lillard’s bucket gave Portland a 99-97 lead with 41 seconds to play, Jamal Murray’s 3-point play put Denver in front for good. The game featured 22 ties and 18 lead changes in all.
- Lillard led the Trail Blazers in scoring for the seventh consecutive game with 25 points (10-18 FG, 4-8 3-PT). Lillard scored Portland’s final eight points before halftime, and tallied 13 total points in the second period. His eight assists also led all players.
- Eleven of Nurkic’s 19 points came during the third quarter. In a sign of things to come, he scored Portland’s first four points of the game in his Denver return.
- Evan Turner was the first Blazer to reach double figures when he scored 10 points on 4-5 FG (2-2 3-PT) in the first half.
- Portland scored at least 100 points for the 12th straight game. Prior to this streak, the team’s season long was six games.
- The Nuggets started both halves with 8-0 runs.
- Neither team ever led by double digits (largest leads: Denver 8, Portland 7).
- Shabazz Napier’s 3-pointer in the third quarter made it 10 straight games with at least one make from beyond the arc, a career long streak. His previous career best was eight games.
WHEN DAME WINS, EVERYBODY WINS
Damian Lillard was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Week earlier on Monday. Lillard averaged 29.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists last week, but everyone was quick to point out these honors don’t happen without the team winning games.
“Very deserving. When you go 3-0, and have the week he had – he’s certainly deserving of it,” said Head Coach Terry Stotts.
Monday’s recognition marks the fourth Player of the Week award for Lillard in his six seasons and first in 2017-18.
“I know this probably sounds typical, but it’s truly a team award. I think I’ve had a lot of good weeks, but we just didn’t go undefeated or win a lot of games. The fact that our team was able to handle business – I think that played a huge role in it. We’re playing great basketball, and I’m benefitting from that because of what my role is to the team."
THEY SAID IT
The Trail Blazers head right back to Portland as they look to extend a season-long six game home winning streak Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Northwest and Rip City Radio 620 AM.