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Nuggets 111, Trail Blazers 109

The SportsXchange

PORTLAND -- LaMarcus Aldridge's short jump shot bounced off the rim as time expired, giving Denver a 111-109 victory over Portland Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.

Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala combined to score 59 points for Denver (37-22), which won its third straight game and for the 13th time in 16 outings.

Lawson scored 30 points and handed out six assists, and Iguodala matched his season high with 29 points to go with eight assists and six rebounds.

Damian Lillard topped six Trail Blazers in doubles figures with 26 points. LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 and J.J. Hickson collected 18 points and 14 rebounds.

Portland (26-31) trimmed an eight-point halftime deficit to 62-61 3 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, then took an 82-79 lead on back-to-back Meyers Leonard's fast-break dunks in the closing minute of the quarter.

The Blazers' advantage was 92-89 with seven minutes remaining, but Iguodala's driving hook shot pushed the Nuggets in front 104-101 with 2:30 to play. Lawson's short jumper upped the margin to 106-101, but Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer closed the gap to 106-104 with 1:40 to go.

Aldridge's 15-foot turnaround jumper tied the game at 106-106 with 33.4 seconds left. Andre Miller's spinning left-handed layup put Denver back in front at 108-106 with 24.7 seconds on the clock.

Aldridge's short jumper missed, the Nuggets rebounded and Lawson converted a pair at the line to make it 110-106 with 13.0 seconds to play.

Lillard's 3-pointer cut the difference to 110-109 with 3.7 seconds remaining. Miller made 1 of 2 free throws, and it was 111-109 with 3.0 seconds to go.

After a timeout, Aldridge got a great look, but his attempt to force overtime was short.

Lawson's 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting got Denver out to a 58-50 lead at halftime. The Nuggets shot .590 from the field and held a 38-26 advantage in points in the paint through intermission.

Hickson kept his team in it with 14 points and nine rebounds at the break.

NOTES: Denver's starting small forward, Danilo Gallinari, is sat out his second straight game with a thigh injury. Wilson Chandler -- who scored a team-high 23 points in Saturday's 119-108 win over the Los Angeles Lakers -- got the start in Gallinari's place. Chandler returned Jan. 18 after missing the first 35 games following hip surgery. "He's getting his confidence back along with his conditioning," Denver coach George Karl said. "He started missed 6-7 months of basketball. You don't find your edge in this game in a short period of time. And the trade deadline affected him a little bit. Once that went by, he regained confidence that he could be a big part of our team." ... The last time these teams met at the Rose Garden -- on Dec. 20 -- Denver set an NBA record for futility by missing all 22 3-point attempts in a 101-93 loss. The Nuggets, on the other hand, scored 74 points in the paint off 38 baskets, meaning only one field goal was made outside the key area. "We could have won it down the stretch despite an incredibly bad shooting night," Karl said. "Our forte is not making 3s, but we cannot be as bad as that. I promise you we're not going to go 0 for 22 tonight." ... The last time the teams squared off in Denver, the Nuggets won 115-111 in overtime on Jan. 15. "They want it to be a track meet," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "I would like to get out and run as well, because they give up points just as much. But the Nuggets don't go away. They keep coming at you."
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