Roy, Blake lead Trail Blazers past Nuggets
He sure looked ready.
Roy, who missed Wednesday’s win at San Antonio, had 25 points in the first half and made a career-high 16 field goals for Portland, which has won four straight and six of seven despite a spate of injuries. The Trail Blazers lost 102-94 to Dallas last Christmas, when Roy finished with 22 points on 8-of-20 shooting.
This holiday matchup went much better.
“It was Christmas Day, and I didn’t feel like a prepared the team last year — when we came out, we enjoyed the day a little too much,” Roy said. “Today I was focused all day long and I wanted to come out and play well tonight.”
Carmelo Anthony(notes) had 32 points and nine rebounds, reserve J.R. Smith(notes) scored 20 and Kenyon Martin(notes) had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Northwest Division-leading Nuggets, who have dropped four straight road games.
Chauncey Billups(notes), who missed three games with a groin injury, returned to Denver’s starting lineup. He had 10 points and five assists, but sat out the second half as a precaution. Denver is off Saturday but plays back-to-back games against Dallas and Sacramento starting Sunday.
“I think without Chauncey the balance of our offense gets out of sync a little bit too much,” Denver coach George Karl said. “That’s on me.”
“We’ve tried to focus hard and be one unit, and it’s been coming together,” Aldridge said. “We’ve been playing really solid basketball.”
The Nuggets led 76-74 after three quarters but couldn’t stop Roy and Blake in the fourth. Roy hit a 3-pointer from the corner, LaMarcus Aldridge powered in a layup and Roy added another 3 to put Portland up 93-85 with 6:01 remaining. Blake’s three 3s in the final minutes helped the Trail Blazers extend the lead.
Anthony helped Denver get off to a quick start. His second-quarter dunk gave the Nuggets a 35-26 lead but Portland closed to 51-49 at halftime.
NOTES: Denver lost for the first time this season when carrying a lead into the final period. The Nuggets are 16-1 when leading after the third. … The Nuggets beat Portland 97-94 at the Rose Garden on Oct. 29. … The Blazers are 14-2 when playing on Christmas.