Following a close game in Phoenix on Friday night, the Trail Blazers returned home to Moda Center to face the Nuggets. The two teams last met back in December, when the Blazers managed to scrape by with a two point win behind LaMarcus Aldridge’s season-high 39 points.
Early on, it looked as if the Blazers were truly back in form, shooting 56 percent in the first quarter. LaMarcus picked up where he left off on Friday night, shooting 4-for-6 and scoring 10 points in the period. Denver shot just 38 percent in the quarter, but still managed to trail by only six points after one.
In the second quarter, Portland’s hot shooting started to cool off, and it started to cost them. Although shots weren’t falling, the Blazers managed to keep the lead until the 1:47 mark, when Denver momentarily took a one point lead of their own. The teams traded baskets, and Portland had a two point lead with the ball out of a time out. Terry Stotts drew up a play for former Nugget Arron Afflalo, who hit a three at the buzzer giving the Blazers a 58-53 lead at the intermission. Afflalo finished the half with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, which was just three shy of his season-high in points with the Blazers.
In the third quarter, it was the LaMarcus Aldridge show. LMA had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and looked absolutely unstoppable at some points. Aldridge single-handedly kept the Blazers out in front, and Portland led by eight points at the end of three.
As the fourth quarter began, the Blazers had all the momentum in the world and it looked as if we may finally have a blowout win on our hands. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Denver evaporated Portland’s eight point lead in the blink of an eye, bringing the deficit to just two at the 10:03 mark of the quarter. Terry Stotts called timeout, and just minutes later it looked as if the Blazers were going to finally pull away. But once again, Portland let off the gas and lead was cut down to just three with 5:36 left in regulation. The Blazers scrapped for some easy buckets, and Batum hit a big three to extend the lead to 10, which would prove to be the decisive blow in a 120-114 home win for the Trail Blazers.
LaMarcus Aldridge once again led the way for Portland, finishing with 32 points and 11 rebounds on 13-of-20 shooting. Arron Afflalo had perhaps his best game as a Trail Blazer, going for 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting against his former team.
With the win, the Blazers move to 47-25 on the season, and 29-7 at home. OKC lost tonight to the Jazz so the magic number to clinch the Northwest Division is now down to three.
- Shooting percentage: Portland 57% — Denver 47%
- Three point percentage: Portland 44% — Denver 37%
- Free throws: Portland 16-18 — Denver 19-22
- Rebounds: Portland 45 — Denver 39
- Assists: Portland 29 — Denver 24
- Points in the paint: Portland 52 — Denver 46
- Fastbreak points: Portland 15 — Denver 16
- Bench points: Portland 32 — Denver 48
- Arron Afflalo had seven made field goals in the first half alone, his season-high for a game with the Blazers.
- With LaMarcus Aldridge’s 23rd point tonight, he became the only NBA player with 1500+ points and 500+ rebounds this season.
- LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are the only Blazers duo ever to score 1500+ points in three consecutive seasons.
- The Blazers’ magic number for a playoff spot is one
- Magic number to clinch the Northwest Division is now down to three