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Trail Blazers 116, Nuggets 100

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PORTLAND — Forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds and guard Wesley Matthews added 21 points and six rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Denver Nuggets 116-100 Sunday night at the Moda Center.

Six players scored in double figures for the Trail Blazers (4-3), including center Chris Kaman, who had 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots off the bench.

Forward Kenneth Faried scored 19 points and guards Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson tallied 18 apiece for the Nuggets (1-5), who lost their fifth straight game.

Portland won the game on its 3-point proficiency. The Blazers were 16 for 31 (.516), the Nuggets only 5 for 16 from beyond the arc.

Matthews buried his fifth 3-pointer of the first half at the buzzer to stake Portland to a 64-56 halftime lead. Matthews scored 19 points and Aldridge 16 in the half for the Blazers. Faried and Afflalo each had 11 points for Denver at the break.

The difference was at the 3-point line, where the Blazers were 8 for 16, the Nuggets 3 for 5.

Aldridge stayed hot, scoring 10 quick points as Portland upped its advantage to 80-67 late in the third quarter. It was 85-73 heading into the final period.

When Portland guard Steve Blake buried a 3-pointer for a 96-79 advantage with 8:15 remaining, the verdict appeared decided. But Denver didn’t fold, scoring nine in a row to get back to within 96-88 with 6:26 to play.

The Nuggets hung around but could never get the margin less than eight the rest of the way.

The teams traded blows early, but the Blazers used a 6-0 run to break an 18-18 tie and go in front 24-18 and took a 36-27 edge into the second quarter.

Denver scored the first seven points of the second period to trim the margin to 36-34, but the Blazers took control again and increased the lead to 57-45 with four minutes left in the half.

NOTES: There was a moment of silence before the game for Trail Blazers fan Sandy Zickefoose, 67, who died Thursday night after suffering a heart attack at Portland’s game vs. Dallas. Blazers coaches and players warmed up with a T-shirt with “Sandy” printed across the chest. “It’s a small gesture when someone loses their life,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “There’s a lot of sadness and grief. It’s a way for us to show the family we are thinking of her.” … Denver welcomed back G Ty Lawson (ankle), who started Sunday’s game, and F JJ Hickson (suspension for violation of the NBA’s anti-drug policy), who came off the bench. … The Nuggets were without F Darrell Arthur, suspended for one game for a flagrant foul in Friday’s loss to Cleveland. … F LaMarcus Aldridge averaged 28.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in three games against the Nuggets last season. “I don’t like to double-team, but I might have to get over my own stubborn and try something different tonight,” Denver coach Brian Shaw said. “We’d like to make somebody else beat us.”

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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