Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 2/2

Game 1: Wednesday, February 2nd
Trail Blazers97
Game 2: Monday, March 7th
Trail Blazers98Final
Game 3: Saturday, April 2nd
Trail Blazers97
Game 4: Tuesday, April 19th
Trail Blazers115Final

Nuggets 94

(20-26, 7-17 away)

Trail Blazers 97

(18-26, 11-9 home)

    Coverage: ALT

    7:00 PM ET, February 2, 2005

    Moda Center, Portland, OR

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 22 23 25 2494
    POR 19 30 19 2997

    Top Performers

    Denver: A. Miller 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 9 Ast

    Portland: N. Van Exel 26 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Van Exel's 26 lead Portland; Melo limited to 7 points

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Ruben Patterson got a lot of satisfaction limiting high-scoring Carmelo Anthony to just seven points.

    Patterson was all over Anthony in Portland's 97-94 victory over Denver on Wednesday night, holding him to single digits for just the sixth time in his career.

    "I think I got my job done," said a smiling Patterson, who has been putting emphasis on his defense as well as his offense.

    Patterson got a lot of help from Theo Ratliff and Joel Przybilla.

    "It was hard. If I beat Ruben, then it was Theo. And if I beat him, then it was Przybilla coming," Anthony said. "So they were making it hard for me."

    Nick Van Exel scored 26 points, and Damon Stoudamire added 17 points and 10 assists to help the Trail Blazers win for the third time in five games after a six-game losing streak. Portland also snapped new Denver coach George Karl's three-game winning streak.

    "You want to win them all, but if you'd told me when I started we'd be 3-1 I probably would have given you a lot of money," Karl said.

    Then he turned serious: "We need to stay focused now. We can't have a lull."

    Rookie Sebastian Telfair hit a 3-pointer and Darius Miles -- in his first game back after a two-game suspension -- had a dunk off Stoudamire's jumper to give the Trail Blazers an 81-76 lead midway through the final period.

    After Van Exel made a 3-pointer with 2 minutes left, Ruben Patterson's tip-in made it 89-83 for Portland and the game slipped away from the Nuggets.

    Miles was suspended by the Blazers for insubordination and conduct detrimental to the team. He entered the game early in the second quarter to a smattering of boos from the Rose Garden crowd.

    Miles' suspension came after he blew up at coach Maurice Cheeks during a practice session last week. Miles later released an apology to fans, but conspicuously did not include Cheeks.

    Miles said he stood by his statement. As for his relationship now with Cheeks, he said, "We're cool, he's a good man."

    Stoudamire said he hoped Miles learned from the incident.

    "I think we can get through it, but we need people to grow up," Stoudamire said.

    Andre Miller had 27 points and nine assists for the Nuggets, who were coming off a 96-76 home victory over New York on Tuesday night.

    The Blazers also played the second of back-to-back games, after a 92-79 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

    The Trail Blazers held Anthony scoreless in the first half. Anthony was 0-for-6 from the floor in the half, and 3-for-14 for the game.

    "You've got to give a lot of credit to Ruben. ... People don't realize how well he's playing defensively," Przybilla said. "He shuts down every small forward when he's on the court. As a team we realize that."

    Portland was nearly single-handedly guided by Van Exel in the half. He had 19 points, including a 3-pointer that made it 46-39. That was the Blazers' biggest lead en route to a 49-45 halftime advantage.

    Portland's Zach Randolph, who leads the team with an average of 19.9 points, came off the bench again and had 19 points.

    Denver hasn't won four straight since Dec. 4-10.

    "We knew coming in that they would either have a good game or a bad game and when Van Exel and Stoudamire started hitting shots, it was going to be a good night," Anthony said.

    Game notes

    Portland guard Derek Anderson missed the game because of a sinus infection. He also has continuing problems with a double root canal he had last week. ... Denver's Francisco Elson missed his second straight game because of plantar facitis in his right foot. ... The Nuggets were 4-0 against the Blazers last season. ... Denver's 5-foot-5 guard Earl Boykins recorded his sixth blocked shot of the season in the fourth quarter. His previous season high was four during the 2002-03 season in 68 games with Golden State.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 97
    FGM-FGA 41-89 (.461) 34-77 (.442)
    3PM-3PA 7-16 (.438) 10-17 (.588)
    FTM-FTA 5-8 (.625) 19-24 (.792)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-42 14-41
    Assists 18 22
    Turnovers 11 13
    Steals 9 4
    Blocks 5 5
    Fast Break Points 13 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 13 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 4 8

    Top Performers

    Andre Miller Miller
    Points: 27
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Nick Van Exel Van Exel
    Points: 26
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0