PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- It took nearly a half before the Denver
Nuggets decided to play with any sort of urgency.
Trailing nearly the entire game, the Nuggets finally pulled
together in the fourth quarter to beat the Portland Trail Blazers
97-94 on Wednesday night.
Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and nine rebounds, while Andre
Miller added 21 points -- 17 in the fourth quarter alone -- for
Denver's seventh straight victory. So far in 2006, the Nuggets have
"It was one of those loose games where we thought that because
our record was good we were going to win the game," coach George
Karl said. "In the second half we finally showed some spunk."
The Blazers, who lost their second straight at home, were up by
as many as 12 points in the second half, but both teams wrestled
with the lead in the final minutes.
Greg Buckner's 3-pointer with 1:13 left put the Nuggets up 97-94
for their biggest lead of the game.
The Blazers inbounded the ball with 3.7 seconds left and guard
Steve Blake was fouled by Kenyon Martin as Denver had a foul to
give. With 1.6 seconds on the clock, Blake inbounded the ball
again, and Travis Outlaw missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the
"We just wanted to keep pushing because we knew they were a
team that would let you back in the game if we pushed through it,"
Martin added 21 points for the Nuggets, who have won four
straight against the Blazers.
"I don't believe in luck. It was will," Anthony said. "The
last five minutes we really buckled down and took control of the
Zach Randolph had 18 points and nine rebounds while center Theo
Ratliff had 11 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double
of the season.
Portland coach Nate McMillan's take on the final quarter? "No
defense," he said.
The Blazers were coming off a 95-89 overtime loss to Dallas on
Sunday that snapped the team's first four-game winning streak since
the 2003-04 season.
"I am encouraged that we've been in control in two games
against good teams," McMillan said. "Now we have to figure out
how to win those games."
Portland took a 52-43 lead, their biggest of the first half, on
Juan Dixon's short jumper on a pass from Blake with 3:05 to go
until the break. The Blazers led 56-47 at the half.
After Portland built a 12-point lead, the Nuggets went on a 14-2
run capped by Martin's dunk to tie it at 71. Anthony scored eight
of those points.
The Blazers responded with their own 14-3 run to make it 85-74
on Outlaw's jumper. Martin's jumper with 4:58 left closed the
Nuggets to within 85-84 and Miller made a pair of free throws to
give Denver its first lead at 90-89.
"We kind of figured out their defense and Andre kept driving it
to the rim," Karl said. "I'm not sure if they got fooled or
tricked, but we got a lot of layups off it."
The Nuggets won nine of the last 10 meetings with Portland.
... Portland coach Nate McMillan said the Blazers may recall
rookies Sergei Monia and Martell Webster from Fort Worth of the
developmental league as early as the first week in February. ...
Among the fans at the game were Tiffeny Milbrett, from the U.S.
national women's soccer team, and Christine Sinclair, who led the
University of Portland to the NCAA College Cup soccer title, and
won the Hermann Trophy for the best NCAA Division I player this
past season. ... Denver center Marcus Camby has been cleared to
play after missing 15 games with a broken finger, but was inactive
against the Trail Blazers.