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Aldridge scores 44 as Blazers best Nuggets
Portland, OR (SportsNetwork.com) - LaMarcus Aldridge dropped in a career-high 44 points, including eight clutch free throws in the final 1:07 to send the Portland Trail Blazers over the Denver Nuggets, 110-105, on Thursday.
Aldridge pulled down 13 rebounds, recorded five assists and scored the last 15 points for the Blazers, who avoided losing three in a row for the first time this season.
"LaMarcus just keeps impressing everybody with what he's doing," Portland head coach Terry Stotts said of his star center. "He was aggressive to the basket, he made his jump shots, he made his free throws, he rebounded, he came up big when we needed him."
Wesley Matthews chipped in with 24 points while Robin Lopez had 12 with nine rebounds for the victors.
Denver, done in by 22 turnovers, has dropped four of its last five following a five-game winning streak. Wilson Chandler led six Nuggets in double figures with 18 points.
Ty Lawson contributed 13 points and 11 assists but was held scoreless in the second half as Denver wasted away a big lead.
Portland shed a 15-point deficit down to five, 91-86, entering the fourth, then opened a back-and-forth final stanza with six straight points.
Randy Foye's runner off a pick-and-roll gave Denver a 105-104 lead with 1:01 on the clock, and Matthews airballed a fadeaway 3-point try at Portland's end.
Aldridge, though, was fouled underneath the basket going after the rebound and sank both free throws to give Portland the lead -- one the hosts did not relinquish.
Aldridge grabbed another big rebound on Lawson's missed jumper and was immediately fouled, leading to a successful trip at the stripe for a 108-105 Portland advantage with 25.8 seconds to go.
Chandler's leaner at the other end rimmed out, and again Aldridge secured the carom, and the subsequent free throws pushed him to a career-high point total.
"Some of the fouls that we committed, just sending (Aldridge) to the line without him really having to work for it, I thought is what hurt us, especially in the fourth quarter," Denver head coach Brian Shaw said.
A high-scoring first quarter ended with the Nuggets holding a 30-27 lead, and Denver was ahead by a dozen, 51-39, after Chandler banked in a 3-pointer with 5:05 remaining in the half.
Portland responded with the next nine points, but the Nuggets still went into the break with a 67-59 cushion, with nearly half of their production (32 points) coming from their bench.
Foye drained three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the third quarter, stretching Denver's lead to 78-63. Portland, though, slowly chipped away at the deficit, with Matthews' alley-oop from Nicolas Batum off an inbound pass sparking the rally near the midway point of the quarter.
Lawson has recorded 10 double-doubles in his last 11 games ... Portland outscored Denver at the free throw line, 30-17 .... The Blazers are 9-2 in their last 11 at home against the Nuggets ... Denver's bench scored just eight points after halftime.
01/24 03:00:47 ET