Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/23

Game 1: Friday, November 23rd
Trail Blazers97
Game 2: Tuesday, February 5th
Trail Blazers96Final
Game 3: Saturday, February 23rd
Trail Blazers101
Game 4: Saturday, March 9th
Trail Blazers106Final

Trail Blazers 96

(25-22, 9-14 away)

Nuggets 97


    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, February 5, 2002

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 20 28 31 1796
    DEN 26 24 28 1997

    Top Performers

    Por: R. Patterson 31 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 6 Stl, 1 Blk

    Den: R. LaFrentz 25 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 5 Blk

    Behind LaFrentz and Bowen, Nuggets prevail

    DENVER (AP) -- Ryan Bowen wasn't the primary option with time running out. Ultimately, he was the right choice.

    Bowen made a layup and free throw with 13 seconds left and Raef LaFrentz had 25 points and nine rebounds as the Denver Nuggets beat Portland 97-96 on Tuesday night.

    "The play was for Nick (Van Exel) coming off a pick and getting open and have Ryan set a pick first pick and roll," Denver coach Mike Evans said. "They forgot about Ryan, and Raef made the pass underneath."

    Bowen scored all seven of his points in the final quarter as the Nuggets snapped a three-game losing streak and beat the Trail Blazers for the fourth straight time in Denver.

    Van Exel, who added 20 points and 16 assists, and LaFrentz were the primary options. With two Portland players converging on LaFrentz, the Denver center found Bowen all alone under the basket.

    "Usually Raef runs that, but we decided to have me run it so I can be on the baseline and have Raef pop out for the shot," Bowen said. "Raef looked at me three or four times before he decided to pass it to me."

    "We were supposed to switch, and when Ruben Patterson didn't switch, Dale Davis had to release," Portland coach Maurice Cheecks said. "When Davis rushed back, his momentum took him into the play and into Bowen."

    Patterson had 31 points for Portland, which lost for the fourth time in its last 16 games. Damon Stoudamire had 20 points, but missed two shots in the last 7 seconds.

    Stoudamire missed a 10-foot shot in the lane, got the layup and missed a second shot.

    "The shot was there two times," Stoudamire said. "I just didn't knock it down."

    The Trail Blazers led 88-84 with 7:22 left in the fourth quarter after baskets by Rick Brunson and Steve Kerr, but the Nuggets answered with an 8-0 run, the final two coming on a breakaway layup by Bowen with 3:25 left.

    Patterson's layup and free throw, and a jumper by Scottie Pippen with 56 seconds left gave the Trail Blazers a 96-92 lead, but LaFrentz had an uncontested dunk and Pippen missed a 15-footer.

    Patterson scored nine points and had a steal as Portland opened the second half with an 18-0 run to take a 66-50 lead.

    The Nuggets turned the ball over five times before Van Exel hit the first of three straight shots, including a 3-pointer, to get Denver within nine at 66-57.

    Van Exel, 6-for-9 in the quarter, missed only twice the remainder of the third quarter and his running one-hander with 2:37 left gave Denver the lead 74-73. Dale Davis hit a fadeaway to put Portland ahead at the break, 79-78.

    "Nick was awesome and won the basketball game," LaFrentz said. "He distributed the basketball and when we needed him to shoot he stepped up."

    Game notes
    Portland's Bonzi Wells was ejected after receiving two technical with 6:43 of the second quarter. ... Pippen tied Hakeem Olajuwon for fifth place on the career steals list with 2,140. ... Injured Denver forward Antonio McDyess still had some swelling in his jaw, the result of an elbow from teammate Zendon Hamilton in Monday's practice. ... The Nuggets have hit at least one 3-pointer in 238 straight games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press