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  • 21 Oct 2014

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Nuggets extend Blazer skid to 11

DENVER — The Trail Blazers tried to rally late Sunday, but they failed to snap their losing streak.

It reached 11 with a 118-109 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Damian Lillard led the shorthanded Blazers with 30 points. But he also had eight of the team's 23 turnovers as the Nuggets posted their 55th win (versus 25 losses), a franchise record.

Andre Iguodala was the top scorer for Denver with 28 points. The 6-6 veteran swing man also had nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals.

Portland fell to 33-47 with two games remaining in its NBA regular season.

The Blazers were without three injured starters: LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle), Wesley Matthews (ankle) and Nicolas Batum (shoulder).

Coach Terry Stotts started Lillard and Will Barton in the backcourt and had J.J. Hickson, Meyers Leonard and Victor Claver in the starting frontcourt.

Hickson scored 19 points and had nine rebounds.

Barton made 5 of 8 shots from the field in scoring 17 points.

Hickson's free throw with 3:33 left pulled the Blazers to within 104-101.

"We started to believe that we could win this game," Lillard said.

But Denver pulled away down the stretch with two 3-pointers by Evan Fournier and four points each from Iguodala and Ty Lawson.

Fournier, a 6-6 rookie guard from France, finished with career highs of 24 points and 36 minutes.

“We had a couple of turnovers down the stretch that they capitalized on," Lillard said. "It seemed like every time we got within (a few points), they hit a three or got a steal. They did a good job answering our calls.”

Four players came off the Portland bench — with backup point guard Eric Maynor getting 14 of the subs' 24 points.

Lillard was 10 of 17 from the field and 4 of 10 on 3-pointers.

Denver shot 53.1 percent from the field to Portland's 46.3 percent.

The Nuggets had a 62-44 edge in points in the paint and a 28-14 advantage in fast-break scoring.

Denver led 37-21 after one quarter and by as many as 20 points (67-47 late in the first half). After two quarters, the Nuggets were ahead 67-50, with 20 points off 13 Blazer turnovers.

It was 89-78 for Denver after three quarters.

Portland never led by more than two — when the score was 2-0 and 6-4.

“I thought we played much better the second half," Stotts said. "I don’t know if there was fatigue in the first half, but the turnovers, obviously, were of concern, particularly in the first half."

In the second half “it didn’t seem like we were as fatigued, but I thought we took better care of the ball for the most part," Stotts said. "Damian was terrific, as he has been all season, and I thought he kind of carried the team, and (Denver's) small lineup opened up the court a little for us.

"I thought Joel Freeland, in the second half, gave us good energy, and J.J. was good in the second half as well. I thought more than anything else, we stayed with them and we didn’t make the mental mistakes that hurt us in the first half.”

Denver extended its club-best home winning streak 22 straight games.

The Nuggets have won a franchise-record 37 times at home this season and have the best home record (37-3) in the NBA.

They are third in the Western Conference, with a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis.