Tuesday, Feb. 23: Nuggets 111, Trail Blazers 106
The skinny: The second game of a back-to-back is never easy, especially on the road, as the Trail Blazers found out Tuesday at Denver.
The Nuggets broke open a close game with a fourth-quarter run and held off Portland 111-106.
The Blazers (18-13) have lost three consecutive games since a six-game winning streak. The Nuggets (17-14) have won 10 of the past 12 regular-season matchups with Portland.
Nikola Jokic had a monster game for Denver with 41 points. He went 17 of 32 from the field. Jamal Murray had 19 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter; he was 1 of 9 from the field before exploding to help the Nuggets win.
Michael Porter Jr. had 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Nuggets had one turnover, by Murray. That's an amazing feat — and an NBA record for fewest turnovers by a team in a game. They also went 17 of 18 on free throws.
Damian Lillard struggled a bit shooting, although he hit some fourth-quarter shots that kept Portland close. He went 9 of 21 from the field (with four 3-pointers) and scored 25 points and also had 13 assists and seven rebounds, and Carmelo Anthony scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half.
Gary Trent Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. added 18 points; it was Jones' season high in points. Enes Kanter had 16 points and 14 rebounds.
The Nuggets used a 10-2 run to lead 103-92 late in the fourth quarter, and Portland fought hard but couldn't close it to a one-score game down the stretch.
The Blazers went 14 of 40 (.350 from 3-point land).
Quotable: "They're one of the better passing teams," coach Terry Stotts said, of Denver and its one turnover, in which Murray lost the ball out of bounds in the second quarter. "So, it's a credit to their offense how well they take care of it."
All-star Lillard: Earlier Tuesday, Lillard was named as an NBA Western Conference all-star reserve for the sixth time, and fourth season in a row.
Trent record: Trent extended his Portland franchise record to 12 consecutive games with at least three 3-pointers made.
Next up: The Blazers have a couple days to prepare for the Los Angeles Lakers, who they play at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPN).
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