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Nuggets use balanced attack to beat Blazers

Feb 3, 2011 - 8:13 AM Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Nene had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups both scored 20 and the Denver Nuggets snapped a two-game losing streak with a 109-90 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

J.R. Smith added 16 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who returned home after back-to-back losses to Philadelphia and New Jersey dropped them to 3-2 on a road trip.

Wesley Matthews scored 19 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 for the Blazers, who couldn't parlay the momentum of their 99-86 win over the NBA-leading Spurs on Tuesday into any more success, losing for the third time in four games.

Portland got 17 points from Nicolas Batum and started a brief three-game road trip that will also include treks to Indiana and Cleveland.

In a see-saw game -- neither team led by more than four points in the first half -- the Nuggets scored the final seven points of the third quarter to seize the momentum.

"I thought in the second half we had a defensive mindset led by Kenyon. And Chauncey made some big shots," said Denver head coach George Karl."As the game went on, we got a little more consistent with our decisions."

Billups buried his second three-pointer in 27 seconds to break a 70-70 tie, Smith hit a pair of free throws and Martin threw down a dunk at the buzzer that was reviewed and upheld.

Sporting a 77-70 lead to start the fourth quarter, Denver never let it dip below five. That's how close Portland got when Dante Cunningham opened the frame with a jumper.

The Nuggets responded with a 9-2 run -- Smith hit a three during it -- to extend their advantage to 12 points with 8:31 remaining. They went ahead by as many as 21 points twice down the stretch while never letting Portland back into it.

Blazers head coach Nate McMillan said his players looked fatigued in the second half, and their heavy legs allowed Denver to seize control.

"Chauncey started to knock down some shots, Smith got hot and we gave up 64 points," McMillan said.

Portland, fighting to keep pace with Denver, Utah and Oklahoma City in a tight Northwest division, was coming off a 3-2 homestand and dropped its sixth straight game in Denver.

"They're a veteran-type team that's still playing very well," Karl said.

Game Notes

Billups ended 4-of-7 from three-point range. Martin banked in a three-pointer in the third quarter in his only attempt and the Nuggets were 8-of-20 as a team...Denver out-rebounded Portland by a 48-33 margin. "Our big guys did a great job against a very good rebounding team," Karl said. After Nene, Harrington contributed the most with nine boards to go along with seven points...The Nuggets shot 52 percent to Portland's 43.