Regular Season Series (Game 3 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

Nuggets 92


Trail Blazers 98

(28-15, 13-6 home)

    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, January 28, 2003

    Moda Center, Portland, OR

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 26 28 23 1592
    POR 27 26 21 2498

    Top Performers

    Den: J. Howard 17 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Stl

    Por: D. Anderson 24 Pts, 1 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Sabonis, Pippen make defensive plays in win

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- In danger of losing for the third time this season to the worst team in the Western Conference, the Portland Trail Blazers turned to their old men to bring them back.

     Arvydas Sabonis

    Arvydas Sabonis scored 10 second-half points and provided tough interior defense while Scottie Pippen had a key defensive stop late in the game as the Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 98-92 Tuesday night.

    Derek Anderson scored 24 points, and Sabonis finished with 12 points and nine rebounds as Portland won its fifth straight and seventh of eight overall.

    "(Sabonis) stepped in and rescued us, really," Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He gets the game ball tonight."

    Pippen had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, and took a crucial charge from Vincent Yarbrough with 31.6 seconds left and Portland leading by four. Pippen also guarded Nuggets leading scorer Juwan Howard for most of the second half and held him to just four points.

    "We switched him on Juwan Howard at the half," Cheeks said. "He limits his scoring and then gets a big charge at the end of the game."

    Howard had 17 points and six rebounds to lead the Nuggets, who lost their fifth in a row overall and seventh straight on the road. Denver had beaten the Blazers three straight times, and four of five overall.

    "Seems like they've got our number, but we held it together down the stretch and got the victory," Portland guard Bonzi Wells said.

    Denver closed to 93-92 with 58 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Chris Whitney, but the Blazers made their free throws down the stretch while the Nuggets were unable to score the rest of the way.

    "They stepped up and hit some shots in the end," Yarbrough said. "Unfortunately, ours didn't go in"

    Yarbrough scored 15 points. Whitney had 13 before fouling out.

    Portland trailed by as many as five early in the fourth before Sabonis took over. Playing almost the entire quarter, Sabonis scored six points and was an imposing presence on defense.

    "He always gives us a spark," said Wells, who had 17 points. "He does it night in and night out. In a halfcourt game, he dominates."

    Through three quarters, the Nuggets had 36 points in the paint, but they managed only six in the final period.

    Still, Denver had to feel good about the game. After averaging just 66.3 points in their last three, the Nuggets surpassed that with 6:48 left in the third and finished 12 points over their season average.

    "We struggled to make plays down the stretch when the game was in the balance," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Other than that, it was a good effort, a much more pleasing effort than last night against New Jersey."

    The Nuggets lost 92-66 at home to New Jersey on Monday night.

    Once again, Denver hung with the Blazers throughout the first half. One night after an embarrassing 92-66 loss at home to New Jersey, the Nuggets shot a 56 percent from the field en route to a 54-53 halftime lead.

    Portland also shot the ball well in the first half, 51.3 percent, but was unable to control the interior, allowing 26 points in the paint. The Nuggets also owned a 19-16 rebounding advantage.

    Denver again played without Marcus Camby, who missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle sustained in his first game of the season on Jan. 17. He missed the first 38 games while recovering from hip surgery.

    The Blazers were playing their sixth consecutive game without leading scorer and rebounder Rasheed Wallace, who has one game remaining on his suspension for threatening a referee after a game Jan. 15.

    Game notes
    Zach Randolph has averaged 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in his six starts in place of Wallace, who is averaging 17.4 points and 8.1 rebounds. ... This was the first of two home games (Chicago on Friday is the other) for the Blazers in a stretch of eight of 10 on the road prior to the All-Star break. After that, Portland plays 12 of 16 at home. ... Blazers reserve guard Antonio Daniels left with 8:30 remaining in the second quarter with a sore right knee. He did not return.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 92 98
    FGM-FGA 33-67 (.493) 33-71 (.465)
    3PM-3PA 5-10 (.500) 2-9 (.222)
    FTM-FTA 21-25 (.840) 30-35 (.857)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-38 9-35
    Assists 22 17
    Turnovers 23 13
    Steals 7 14
    Blocks 0 3
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (1/0) 16 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Juwan Howard Howard
    Points: 17
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Derek Anderson Anderson
    Points: 24
    Reb: 1
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0