Trail Blazers vs Nuggets – Game Recap – January 13, 2022

DENVER – – Will Barton had 21 points heading into the third quarter with a strained neck, Nikola Jokic added 20 and the Denver Nuggets beat the exhausted Portland Trail Blazers 140-108 on Thursday night.

The Nuggets increased their lead to 26 points in the third quarter – and this time they didn’t let it slip away.

Two nights ago, Denver lost 25 points in Los Angeles against the Clippers. The loss of big leads has become an alarming trend with the Nuggets.

But not this time. However, it took the Nuggets nearly three minutes to score their first basket – a dunk from Jeff Green, who finished with 19 points. It got them rolling again.

Facundo Campazzo had 18 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets. Jokic, who did not play in the fourth quarter, also had eight rebounds and seven assists. It was a rare match in which he did not register a double-double.

There was a scary moment at the end of the third quarter, when Barton appeared to bang his neck against a Portland player on a drive. He remained on the ground for several moments as his teammates surrounded him. Barton walked over to the locker room and later returned to the bench.

Ben McLemore had 18 points as the five Portland starters scored in double digits to start a six-game trip. The Blazers were deprived of their top four scorers in Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy), CJ McCollum (right pulmonary pneumothorax), Norman Powell (health and safety protocols) and Anfernee Simons (personal reasons).

With the Denver reserves playing most of the fourth quarter, the Nuggets extended their lead to 37 points.

ADVICE

Blazers: McCollum is expected to join the team at some point during the trip. … F Larry Nance Jr. (right knee) was out. … G Dennis Smith Jr. scored 17.

Nuggets: Before the game, G Jamal Murray (left knee) and F Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery) shot baskets at opposite ends of the field. … Denver has won two of three series this season against Portland, with the final game Feb. 27 in Portland.

MISSING LILLARD

Lillard underwent surgery Thursday morning to repair a heart injury that caused her abdominal pain. Lillard will be re-evaluated in six weeks.

“He’s told me a few times that he doesn’t even know what it is like to play healthy – it’s been so long,” said Blazers coach and Denver native Chauncey Billups. “I’m glad he can get healthy, come back with a fresh mind, a fresh body.”

WELCOME ABOARD

The Blazers have hired Andrae Patterson as their deputy general manager. Billups couldn’t help but reflect on a first-round NCAA tournament game in 1997, when the Billups Colorado Buffaloes beat the Patterson Indiana Hoosiers 80-62.

“It was a great game,” Billups said.

BOWL BACK

A trade between Detroit and the Nuggets was called off after big man Bol Bol did not receive medical clearance with the Pistons. The Nuggets finalized the deal Monday to send Bol to Detroit in exchange for goaltender Rodney McGruder as well as a 2022 second-round pick via Brooklyn.

“Welcome him back,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said of what will happen next. “Bol was leaving here on good terms. We all had good conversations with him. Stranger things have happened in the NBA.

FOLLOWING

Blazers: In Washington on Saturday.

Nuggets: Host LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.

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