DENVER – For the second time in as many days, Portland entered the fourth quarter with a lead and ended the game with a loss.
Former Trail Blazers forward J.J. Hickson scored 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead Denver to a 108-104 win over Portland on Monday before 9,153 at the Pepsi Center.
Portland, which blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead in a 120-103 home loss to Detroit on Sunday, led 80-79 after the third quarter Monday.
But the youthful Blazers (4-4) experienced another early-season learning lesson when the Nuggets (3-4) outscored them 29-24 in the fourth quarter to snap an eight-game losing streak against Portland.
Hickson, who finished 5 of 11 from the free throw line, made four consecutive free throws in the final two minutes to help the Nuggets hold off Portland. Fellow former Trail Blazer Will Barton added 11 points off the bench for Denver.
Damian Lillard scored a game-high 30 points on 9-of-22 shooting for the Blazers. Lillard has scored at least 25 points in five games in a row for the first time in his career.
Lillard was one of six Portland players to score in double-figures, including all five starters. Guard C.J. McCollum was second on the team with 16 points and he was followed by center Mason Plumlee (15 points) and forward Al-Farouq Aminu (12 points).
Starting forward Meyers Leonard had 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Forward Allen Crabbe also scored 11 points off the bench.
Lillard had 20 points in the first half to help the Blazers hold leads of 33-29 after the first quarter and 58-57 at halftime.
Portland returns home to play LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Moda Center.
portlandtribune.com | November 10, 2015