National Basketball Association
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              === Cavs close out western trek against Nuggets ===
 ( - The Cleveland Cavaliers will try to end their western
 road trip with a winning record Friday night when they visit the Pepsi Center
 to meet the Denver Nuggets.
 The Cavs, who own the second-worst road mark in the league at 4-17, defeated
 the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers on the sojourn, but fell to the
 Sacramento Kings and most recently, the Portland Trail Blazers.
 The score was knotted at 96-96 when Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge put the team
 on his back with a personal 6-0 run. Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard
 followed with 3-pointers to seal the 108-96 victory for the Blazers.
 Newly-acquired Luol Deng led the Cavs in scoring for the second straight tilt
 with 25 points, while Kyrie Irving dropped 21 points in the setback. Dion
 Waiters chipped in 18 off the bench as Cleveland fell to 4-4 in January.
 Tristan Thompson finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
 Anderson Varejao only had eight points, but pulled down 14 boards.
 "You have to give LaMarcus Aldridge credit," Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown
 said. "He hit some tough shots down the stretch, they came up with a couple of
 tough rebounds, for kick-out threes and it kind of discombobulated us a little
 bit when they scored."
 The Cavs return to the Q on Monday for five straight.
 The Nuggets had a five-game winning streak snapped in Utah on Monday, but they
 rebounded with a great road victory over the Golden State Warriors, 123-116,
 on Wednesday.
 During this great stretch, the Nuggets are averaging 117.7 points per game and
 the 123 they put on the Warriors was the third-highest total for Denver in its
 last seven.
 J.J. Hickson was the difference in Wednesday's win over the Warriors. He
 grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds and supplied 13 points, including the first
 four of a game-closing 8-0 spurt.
 "J.J. Hickson was a monster on the boards," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said.
 With Denver trailing 116-115 and just over a minute to play, Hickson buried a
 pullup jumper to put the Nuggets on top before stripping Stephen Curry at the
 other end and going coast-to-coast for a two-handed dunk and a 119-116 lead.
 Ty Lawson, who went 4-for-4 from the foul line late, finished with 22 points
 and 11 assists, Nate Robinson registered 24 points off the bench, and Wilson
 Chandler chipped in 22 points and six boards for the Nuggets.
 Randy Foye, who grabbed a key offensive rebound down the stretch to keep
 Denver's hopes alive, finished with 21 and Timofey Mozgov added 10 in a
 reserve role.
 The Cavaliers beat the Nuggets by 10 in Cleveland on Dec. 4, but have lost 10
 of their last 13 in Denver.
 01/17 10:24:16 ET