Blazers Hold on to Beat Nuggets: A Fan’s Reaction

The Portland Trail Blazers put together a really impressive game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday (Dec. 29). Everything about the game was great for the Blazers, ranging from the 52 percent the team shot from the field to the 50-30 rebounding edge that the team was able to take. It all led to a nice 111-102 win over a team that the Blazers will have to play three more times in the regular season.

Going up against a deeper rotation for the Nuggets, coach Nate McMillan went with just eight players tonight. In addition to the minutes from the starters, Jamal Crawford played 31, Nicolas Batum had 21 and Kurt Thomas had 12 off the bench. At one point in the fourth quarter, Crawford and Wesley Matthews both caught fire at the same time, hitting shot after shot and keeping the momentum flowing.

Matthews finished this one 9-for-15 from the field (5-for-8 from three-point range) for 25 points and Crawford went 6-for-16 for 22 points of his own. Raymond Felton has 24 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge had 14 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds and Gerald Wallace has 13 points and 6 rebounds in the victory.

The one glaring problem from this game was ball-control. The Blazers committed 25 turnovers on the night, with 6 coming from Crawford and 4 coming from both Felton and Nicolas Batum. It led to 16 steals from the Nuggets and a host of easy baskets that get the game close. A lot of credit has to go to the Nuggets on that front though, because they have a very scrappy team that will do anything to get the loose balls. If not for the Blazers hitting so many clutch shots, the final score would have been a lot closer.

Beating the Nuggets was a very nice gift to the fans at the Rose Garden, especially because both teams came into this game with 2-0 records. Now it's just Portland and the Oklahoma City Thunder atop the Northwest division with undefeated records. The next game on the schedule isn't until Sunday, Jan. 1 now, when the Blazers travel to Staples Center to play the Los Angeles Clippers at 6:30 p.m. PT.

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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He doesn't miss a game, and has high hopes that the Blazers can improve their roster during the offseason and come back even better in the 2011-12 NBA season.

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Updated Friday, Dec 30, 2011