PORTLAND -- The Denver Nuggets made just 3 of 14 3-point attempts Wednesday night at the Rose Garden, but they did plenty of damage inside.
The Nuggets won the points-in-the-paint battle 72-42, just enough to provide them with a 111-109 victory over Portland.
LaMarcus Aldridge's short jump shot bounced off the rim as time expired, giving Denver the victory at the Rose Garden.
Portland was 10 for 25 from 3-point range, scoring 21 more points from beyond the arc than the Nuggets.
"The 3-ball has killed us at times this year," Denver coach George Karl said, "but sometimes paint beats 3-ball. Tonight, we got into the paint and scored a lot of points."
Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala combined to score 59 points for Denver (37-22), which won its third straight game and 13th 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.
"It was great to see Andre have his breakout game of the season in terms of confidence." Karl said.
Damian Lillard scored 26 points to top six Trail Blazers in double figures. Aldridge added 22 and J.J. Hickson collected 18 points and 14 rebounds.
With Lawson leading the way, the Nuggets got out in transition for 22 fast-break points and scored heavily in the key throughout the game. They shot 51.7 percent from the field, prevailing despite making only 3 of 14 3-point shots and shooting 58.1 percent from the foul line.
"We played a tough game, but we let them play the way they want to play," Portland's Nicolas Batum said. "They like to run and score inside. They did that. We kept fighting, but in the end they made more plays than we did."
Portland (26-31) trimmed an eight-point halftime deficit to 62-61 three and a half minutes into the third quarter, then took an 82-79 lead on Meyers Leonard's back-to-back fast-break dunks in the closing minute.
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 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 three seconds to go.
After a timeout, Aldridge got an open shot over Denver's Wilson Chandler, but the attempt to force overtime was short.
"I liked the matchup," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "I knew he'd get a good look, and he did. He just missed it."
Lawson's 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting got Denver out to a 58-50 lead at halftime. The Nuggets shot 59 percent 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: It was the first time in the last 13 meetings that the road team emerged victorious. ... There were 17 lead changes and 10 ties. ... Batum filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, nine assists, six rebounds, five steals and three blocked shots in 40 minutes. ... The Nuggets' starting small forward, Danilo Gallinari, sat out his second straight game with a thigh injury. ... Hickson registered his 31st double-double of the season, ranking fourth in the league in the category. He has double-doubles in all three games against the Nuggets this season. ... Portland rookie Leonard scored a season-high 13 points and had five rebounds on his 21st birthday.