Nuggets 118, Trail Blazers 109

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Andre Iguodala had 28 points and nine assists, and the Denver Nuggets set an NBA franchise record with their 55th win by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 118-109 on Sunday.
Rookie Evan Fournier scored 24 points as Denver set the team record for home wins with 37. It was the Nuggets' 22nd straight win at Pepsi Center.
The Blazers have lost 11 in a row.
The win keeps Denver a game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers for third in the Western Conference. The Nuggets need a one win in their last two games to clinch at least fourth and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
But the news wasn't all good for Denver. The Nuggets were dealing with the loss of second-leading scorer Danilo Gallinari when Kenneth Faried crumbled to the floor after going up for a layup. Faried didn't put any weight on his left ankle as he was helped off the court just 2:40 into the game.
X-rays were negative and the Nuggets said Faried is day to day.
Losing Faried would be another blow to Denver's depth, which has been a strength this season. Denver has gone nine deep at times this season, but with Gallinari's ACL tear 10 days ago and Ty Lawson's right foot injury, the Nuggets have had to patch together lineups in the final two weeks.
Even without Faried the Nuggets survived against the Blazers, who got 30 points from Damian Lillard and 19 from J.J. Hickson. The Nuggets led by 16 at the end of the first quarter and 67-50 at half.
The lead grew to 83-63 late in the third quarter, but the Blazers didn't go away. Down 98-84, they went on a 12-2 run to get within four. Portland narrowed the gap to 104-101 on Hickson's free throw with 3:33 left, but two free throws from Lawson and a 3-pointer by Fournier made the score 111-102 with 2:40 left.
Portland is two losses shy of the franchise record of 13 straight. With games left against the playoff-bound Clippers and Golden State, the Blazers could match that mark as well as extend their home losing streak to eight.
NOTES: Wes Matthews has now missed three straight games and Nicolas Batum six. LaMarcus Aldridge missed his second straight. ... Coach George Karl said this year's Denver team can be special with a strong finish, which started with Sunday's game. "I do idealistic, I do realistic and I do pessimistic predictions before the season," Karl said of his expectations. "If we'd win two out of these three games we'd be above my idealistic predictions." ... The Blazers' young players are getting a chance to show what they can do in the final few games, which coach Terry Stotts said is motivation for them. "All those guys are getting an opportunity that they didn't get during the season because we were competitive," Stotts said. "Those guys aren't having any trouble getting up and playing these games." ... Karl said he wasn't sure if Lawson would play Monday night in Milwaukee. Lawson is still working his way back from a strained heel/plantar fascia tear in his right foot and his minutes are being monitored.

What to Read Next