Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Saturday, November 2nd
Trail Blazers79
Game 2: Friday, January 10th
Trail Blazers81Final
Game 3: Tuesday, January 28th
Trail Blazers98
Game 4: Wednesday, February 26th
Trail Blazers94Final

Trail Blazers 81

(21-14, 11-9 away)

Nuggets 82


    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, January 10, 2003

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 25 21 13 2281
    DEN 26 20 16 2082

    Top Performers

    Por: R. Wallace 14 Pts, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 4 Blk

    Den: N. Hilario 20 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 Stl

    Portland blows three chances at the win

    DENVER (AP) -- The Portland Trail Blazers got the matchup they wanted. The Denver Nuggets got the break they needed.

    Juwan Howard

    Nene Hilario had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Juwan Howard added 19 points as the Denver Nuggets held on to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 82-81 Friday night for their second two-game winning streak of the season.

    With Denver leading by one in the closing seconds, Portland got the ball in the post to Rasheed Wallace. He was being guarded by rookie Junior Harrington, who's seven inches shorter and has six years less experience, but Wallace somehow missed.

    Dale Davis got the rebound, but couldn't get the ball over the rim on consecutive shots.

    "Everyone was jumping around and I was down there screaming for help," Harrington said. "I was wondering when somebody was going to get me. I knew it was a matter of time."

    Rodney White hit two free throws to put Denver up 80-78 with 1:10 left, then Portland's Derek Anderson missed a tough shot inside. Hilario followed with a dunk that made it 82-78 with 37 seconds left, but Ruben Patterson cut the lead to one with a three-point play.

    Denver got the ball to Vincent Yarbrough on the other end, but the rookie turned it over with 17 seconds left after he jumped in the air and had nowhere to go.

    Portland then called a timeout to set up a final play.

    "We got the shot we wanted, but it didn't go in like we wanted," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks said.

    The Nuggets improved to 3-2 in January after going 1-13 in December. Denver has won consecutive games for the first time since taking three straight from Nov. 22-26.

    The youthful Nuggets did it with big contributions from their youngest players.

    Hilario, a rookie was all over the place, with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals by halftime. Yarbrough was 5-for-9 for 10 points and had five assists.

    White, in his second season, finished with 16 points, including a thunderous dunk over Zach Randolph along the baseline to start the fourth.

    Harrington, another rookie, provided a steadying influence with Chris Whitney and John Crotty out with injuries. He had one turnover in 37 minutes.

    The Nuggets even got a contribution from Nikoloz Tskitishvili, who has seemed lost most of the season. He had just four points, but played under control and had a nice pass to set up a jumper in the corner by Harrington.

    "The young guys are feeling comfortable and confident," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "They are growing, it will take some time. It is a work in progress."

    Portland entered the game as one of the league's hottest teams, winning 11 of its previous 13 games, but continued to struggled against the Nuggets.

    Denver has won just nine games this season, but two have been against the Trail Blazers. The Nuggets have won four of five overall against Portland and six straight at home.

    "They are one of those teams that has nothing to lose," said Portland's Bonzi Wells, who had 15 points in the first half, but none in the second. "They are pretty much out of the playoffs before the season starts, so they can come out here and work on things for next year."

    Denver shot 50 percent in 86-76 win over Miami on Wednesday, and kept it going early against Portland. The Nuggets hit seven of their first 11 shots to take a 17-9 lead and were 19-of-38 in the first half.

    The Nuggets wound up shooting 44 percent overall, but had just 14 turnovers after averaging a league-high 19.8 entering the game.

    "We are starting to get more balanced scoring," Bzdelik said. "That's a good sign to have a balanced attack as opposed to a month ago when we relied on one or two guys."

    Portland was sloppy on offense at the start, turning the ball over six times in the first four minutes. The Trail Blazers hit five of eight during a 16-3 run in the first quarter, but wound up shooting 35 percent overall and 4-for-15 from 3-point range.

    Game notes
    Portland C Arvydas Sabonis, who's been bothered by a sore back, did not enter the game until early in the fourth quarter. He had two points in three minutes. ... The Nuggets hope to have G John Crotty back for Saturday night's game against Houston. He's been out for a week with a sore Achilles' tendon. ... Denver has won six straight over Portland at home, including twice this season. ... Wallace finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 81 82
    FGM-FGA 29-82 (.354) 33-75 (.440)
    3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 0-3 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 19-24 (.792) 16-20 (.800)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-43 10-39
    Assists 19 22
    Turnovers 17 16
    Steals 8 10
    Blocks 7 12
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 20 (1/1)

    Top Performers

    Rasheed Wallace Wallace
    Points: 14
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 4
    Nene Hilario Hilario
    Points: 20
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0