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It is the first game of a six-game road trip, and Portland, without four guards, falls to 2-14 on the road.

JOKICPortland has the worst road record in the NBA. A six-game road trip didn't start well Thursday night.

Playing without its four top guards, the Blazers were competitive in the first quarter, but Denver was much better throughout the game and won 140-108.

Damian Lillard had successful abdominal surgery Thursday, and could be out 6-8 weeks or the rest of the season.

CJ McCollum has been recovering from a collapsed lung, and could rejoin the Blazers on the road trip.

Norman Powell sat out another game while in health and safety protocols.

And red-hot Anfernee Simons, who averaged 27.8 points in the first six January games, missed the game for personal reasons. His grandfather recently passed away.

So, Dennis Smith Jr. and Ben McLemore, both NBA veterans, received backcourt starts. McLemore had 18 points and Smith 17.

But, the Blazers couldn't stop the Nuggets, who shot .627, including .500 from the 3-point line (21 of 42). Nikola Jokic had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Will Barton led the Nuggets with 21 points.

Every player on both teams scored points. Nine of 11 Denver players hit at least one 3-pointer, led by Bones Hyland (five).

Portland (16-24), which had a modest two-game winning streak, fell to 2-14 on the road. Denver moved to 21-19 overall.

Larry Nance Jr. (right knee) and Cody Zeller (right patellar fracture) also missed the game for Portland.

The road trip continues at the Washington Wizards, 4 p.m. Saturday.


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