Trail Blazers 113, Nuggets 98

Michael Kelly, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored six of his game-high 25 points down the stretch and the hot-shooting Portland Trail Blazers held on to beat Denver 113-98 in the Nuggets' home opener Friday night.
Wesley Matthews had 21 points and 12 rebounds and Nicolas Batum also scored 21 for the Blazers, who hit 12 of their first 18 shots from 3-point range and finished 14-for-22 from behind the arc.
Nate Robinson scored 24 off the bench and Ty Lawson scored 21 for Denver, which dropped its first two games of the season.
The Blazers led 95-74 when the Nuggets finally made a charge. Robinson hit two 3-pointers to spark a 20-6 rally that made it 101-94 with 4:48 left.
The run brought the dormant crowd back to life, but things went silent again when Portland made a last run to pull away.
Joel Freeland hit a free throw, and after Robinson missed a floater in the lane, Matthews nailed his fourth 3-pointer to make it 105-94.
Aldridge then took over. He hit three straight turnaround jumpers -- two over former teammate J.J. Hickson -- to put the game away.
The Blazers broke open a close game in the second quarter. Damian Lillard hit two 3-pointers and a layup in scoring 11 of his 13 first-half points in 2:04 to turn a one-point game into a 46-34 Portland lead. His driving layup with time running out in the half gave the Blazers a 16-point edge.
The Blazers hit their first four shots from 3-point range at the start of the third quarter. Matthews led the charge with three 3-pointers to help Portland build a 24-point lead late in the quarter.
NOTES: Nuggets F Wilson Chandler (hamstring) missed his second game in a row. There is no timetable for his return. ... Portland G Earl Watson (left calf strain) was inactive for the second consecutive game. ... Denver entered Friday with a 23-game home winning streak in the regular season. The Nuggets last loss -- other than Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals last April -- was Jan. 18 against Washington. ... Portland came into Friday's game on a nine-game losing streak at Pepsi Center. The Trail Blazers have not won in Denver since Dec. 16, 2007. ... Nuggets mascot Rocky was injured performing a stunt during the opening festivities.