Denver (30-31) has won seven straight and 13 of 14 at home against Portland, with the only loss in that span coming on Feb. 26, 2003. Trail Blazers forward Zach Randolph is the only player still with the team that played in that game.
While Portland (26-36) has struggled in Denver, the Nuggets were going through an even longer stretch of futility in Sacramento before a 113-101 victory on Sunday. Denver had lost its previous 20 visits to Arco Arena, where it hadn’t won in more than 10 years.
“That’s a long time,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “It’s a big win for us, for our confidence to get playing better. Hopefully we will build on the continuity and confidence we had today.”
Denver is in seventh place in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for the final postseason berth.
“I just said, ‘Oh’ and turned around and ran to the bench. How could I get a technical for something like that?” Iverson said. “I didn’t try to show (the referee) up. Out of all the techs I’ve got, I probably deserved every last one except that one right there. … It was strange. I don’t think that ever happened to me in my whole career—I never got three fouls in the beginning of the game.”
Iverson will be making only his second appearance against Portland this season. He missed a home-and-home series against the Blazers from Jan. 31-Feb. 2 with a sprained right ankle as the teams split the games.
The All-Star guard helped pick up the slack for a suspended Anthony in the teams’ first matchup on Jan. 14, scoring 32 points and adding nine assists as Denver won 109-93 in Portland.
Anthony, who continues to lead the NBA in scoring with an average just under 30 points per game, has posted 33-point efforts in each of the two games he has faced Portland this year.
Randolph registered his 34th double-double of the season with 25 points and 13 rebounds in a 106-87 victory over Golden State on Sunday as the Blazers completed a 2-2 homestand. Rookie Brandon Roy led Portland with 26 points.
Roy is one of the front-runners for NBA Rookie of the Year honors and is leading all first-year players with a 15.6 scoring average. He is averaging 17.8 points in eight games since the All-Star break.
The Blazers are one victory shy of matching their total from two seasons ago. They have already surpassed last year’s 21-win total.