DENVER (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 39 points and set up the winning basket on a pass inside to Robin Lopez with 1.3 seconds left, helping the Portland Trail Blazers rally for a 105-103 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.
Aldridge received an in-bounds pass and dished it to Lopez, who sealed off J.J. Hickson with his hip for an easy layup.
Danilo Gallinari’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was well short as the Blazers won their seventh straight over Denver.
Aldridge also had 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double in six games. Damian Lillard scored 17 points, and Wesley Matthews added 15.
Ty Lawson led Denver with 24 points and 13 assists on the second night of a back-to-back.
Lawson also had a crucial turnover with 27.2 seconds remaining when Matthews stole his pass.
After a timeout, Lillard dribbled and dribbled out front before driving to the basket. He missed a layup with 4.3 seconds left, but the ball went out of bounds off a Nuggets player.
Given another chance, Lopez came through. He finished with 11 points.
The Nuggets received a scare late in the second quarter when Gallinari went to the locker room with a strained right knee. But he returned after halftime.
Gallinari went through three surgeries and missed nearly 18 months after blowing out his left knee on April 4, 2013.
The Italian forward finished with nine points.
Portland took its first lead since the opening quarter when Lillard’s basket was counted after a goaltending call by Timofey Mozgov with 3:25 remaining.
From there, it was back and forth.
Denver led by as many as 14 points midway through the third quarter, but Portland used a 12-0 run to close to 78-76. Wilson Chandler stopped the streak when he scored on a driving layup and was fouled.
The Nuggets held Portland to 50 points in the first half — significant because the Blazers had 84 first-half points the last time they were in town on Nov. 12. That was one basket away from matching their record for a half (86).
Once again, the Nuggets couldn’t contain Aldridge, who had 26 points at intermission. He was mostly shooting jumpers at the top of the key, with no one even near him.
Aldridge has always had big games against the Nuggets. He had a career-high 44 points on Jan. 23.
Before the game, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said he recommended that Arron Afflalo appeal a $15,000 fine that was handed down by the league for a hard foul against Utah’s Alec Burks on Monday.
“It wasn’t a malicious play,” Shaw said. “Arron is not a dirty player by any means.”
Trail Blazers: Portland is 5-0 against Northwest Division opponents this season. … Portland has won the last four games in Denver. Before this run, it was 2-23 at the Pepsi Center since 2000-01. … Nicolas Batum had 13 assists.
Nuggets: Asked which Nuggets player would be the best choice to cover Aldridge, Shaw responded, “Dikembe Mutombo.” The 7-foot-2 center blocked 1,486 shots while with the Nuggets. … Chandler had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Trail Blazers: Host Indiana on Thursday.
Nuggets: At Washington on Friday.