Playing without the injured LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, and Nikolas Batum, the Blazers knew it would be a rough day in Denver. And for much of the game, it pretty much went as expected. The Nuggets led by 20 points late in the first half and by 20 again in the third quarter 83-63.
However, Damian Lillard scored seven straight points when the Blazers scored nine unanswered late in the third quarter to pull within nine at 87-78.
Portland continued to chip away at the lead and pulled within four at 100-96 on a pair of Lillard free throws with 4:56 remaining. The Blazers made it a one possession game with 3:33 remaining when JJ Hickson made one of two from the line to make it 104-101. But Denver held on to win 118-109, extending the Blazers losing streak to eleven games.
Lillard, the likely NBA Rookie of the Year, led the Blazers with 30 points, but he committed 8 turnovers. Andre Iguodala led the Nuggets with 28 points and Even Fornier scored a career-high 24 points.
The Blazers will play their final home game of the season Tuesday night against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Portland will play its season finale Wednesday night against Golden State. Both games start at 7:30 with coverage tipping off at 6:30 p.m.