Trail Blazers vs Nuggets Tuesday, 01/15/13 AT 06:00PM

Trail Blazers Lose First OT Game In Denver

01/15/13
  1. Written by: erikgundersen  / avg. rating: 5.0

    BY ERIK GUNDERSEN

    The Trail Blazers (20-18)  fought hard to get the game into overtime but a late Wilson Chandler three in overtime ruined what would have been a great win as the Nuggets (24-16) won 115-111. LaMarcus Aldridge had another great game, scoring 28 points and grabbing eight rebounds and dishing six assists.

    This game was a shootout from the very beginning. 30-plus point first quarters for both teams indicate as much. Neither team brought much defense, until the end of the game. Portland made their recent offensive woes a thing of the past as they shot 57 percent from the field in the first quarter and ended up shooting just over 47 percent for the game, a welcome sight after not breaking 40 percent the last three games. Portland has been tested by three playoff teams, but tonight, they looked their best.

    Aldridge found success offensively for the second night in a row, shooting 10 of 21 from the field and getting to the line eight times, making all of his free-throw attempts. He was also putting on a playmaking clinic from the post, making Denver pay for their double-teams. Portland's starting front court of Aldridge, JJ Hickson (19 points, 13 rebounds, 7-8 field goals) and Nicolas Batum (22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists all had monster games against a big, long and talented Denver team.

    The Trail Blazers were up by three heading into halftime but were bitten by the turnover bug in the third quarter.

    "For the most part, both teams played pretty well," Terry Stotts said. "Third quarter, turnovers really hurt us."

    Portland committed seven of their 18 turnovers in the third quarter. Stotts said that Denver's transition gave them troubles all night and the Nuggets ran the Trail Blazers up and down the court in the third quarter. The Nuggets took an eight point lead into the fourth quarter. Portland turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions to start the fourth and it looked like things were going to get out of hand but luckily for the Trail Blazers, Denver's lead got no higher than nine points. Portland closed it to three points with over seven minutes left only to fall behind by nine again with four minutes left. Of course, Portland clawed back.

    Down the stretch, Portland put forth a great team effort but they played through Aldridge in the post. Almost every time down, Aldridge was getting a touch and he delivered, scoring 10 points and dishing two assists in the final period. Wesley Matthews (14 points), who was having a rough shooting night up until that point, showed once again he has no problem taking the big shot, draining a three with 32 second left to tie the game. Both teams traded missed opportunities for game winners and to overtime they went, where the Trail Blazers were 5-0 coming in.

    The teams kept trading buckets and keeping people on the edge of their seats. However, a Wilson Chandler corner three with 14 seconds left in overtime was too much for Portland to one-up. Denver played relentless defense on the perimeter on Portland's next possession, denying a clean look for a game-tying three. Damian Lillard (16 points, eight rebounds, five assists) was forced to take a tough three-pointer that didn't go. The Trail Blazers are now 5-1 in overtime games.

    Despite another tough loss, the team's third straight, Stotts doesn't think his team is any less confident than they were before their three losses to quality teams.

    "I think we're a pretty confident group, we've won more than our share of close games," Stotts said. "We've lost three close ones, I don't think our confidence will waiver."

    The Trail Blazers will face the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night a 7PM at the Rose Garden. That game will be shown on KGW and can be heard on 1190 AM and 102.3 FM.

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