Harris Scores 27, Nuggets Beat Blazers

The Denver Nuggets opened their longest road trip of the season with a 113-112 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night on a go-ahead corner 3-pointer from Gary Harris, off a pass from center Nikola Jokić with 16.5 seconds to go.

Denver (15-7) won their fifth straight game by getting hot shots off and holding strong defense throughout the night. The Nuggets built a comfortable cushion, going up 12 after one and 15 at the break behind 60 percent shooting from 3-point range in the first half.

The Blazers (13-9) stormed back in during the third quarter when they pulled within three points on a triple from the top of the key. Star point guard Damian Lillard had 3.6 seconds to go, but Denver reserve forward Trey Lyles knocked down a rainbow of a 32-footer just before the buzzer to make it a multiple-possession game again.

In the fourth quarter, Portland guard C.J. McCollum trimmed his team’s deficit down to one three times, but Nuggets backup point guard Monte Morris responded on the first two occasions and the Blazers never got any closer. First, McCollum nailed a tough lefty-floater in the late with 7:23 left before Morris stroked a jumper 11 seconds later. McCollum’s jumper with 6:04 left made it 98-97 but Morris drilled a 3-pointer at the 5:45 mark of the fourth as the Nuggets went back up four.

McCollum would tie the game for the second time in the fourth with a layup in traffic at 37.1 seconds left to make 110-110. McCollum would score again with 10.2 seconds left, tallying the final two points of the game.

Harris, who scored 11 of his team-high 27 points in the first, also added three rebounds in as many assists in 36 minutes - his first action after missing his team’s previous two contests with left ankle soreness. Paul Millsap put up his second-straight double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds while adding four assists and four steals.

Monte Morris scored 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting and added four rebounds and two assists in 30 minutes off the bench. Jokić filled out the stat sheet with 15 points, eight assists and eight rebounds and Juancho Hernangómez finished a point shy of a double, scoring nine and grabbing 11 rebounds.

McCollum led all scorers with 33 points. However, the Nuggets kept his backcourt mate point guard Damian Lillard, the NBA’s seventh-leading scorer to 15 points just two days after he dropped 41 on the Orlando Magic.

Denver held the Blazers to 27.3 percent shooting from the 3-point line.

Al-Farouq Aminu had 20 while former Denver center Jusuf Nurkic (17) and Miles Leonard (11) also finished in double-figures in a losing effort.

The Nuggets travel to Toronto to face the Raptors Monday at 5:30 p.m. That game will be broadcasted on Altitude TV and streamed on AltitudeNOW.

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