Arron Afflalo Gets Some Revenge: Blazers Smoke The Nuggets 120-116


The series finale between these two teams took on a deeper meaning than previous games for a multitude of reasons. It was the first time Arron Afflalo and Will Barton went against their former teams after the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets made a deadline trade — with Denver getting Barton, Victor Claver, and a draft pick, while Portland received Afflalo. Afflalo was starting in place of the injured Wes Matthews, and Barton was coming off the bench.

Right from the tip-off one thing was clear, LaMarcus Aldridge came to play. He dominated most of the first quarter scoring a game-high 10 points. Denver got out to a fast start as well, thanks to JJ Hickson posting 8 points and seemingly grabbing every rebound in sight. Jameer Nelson also provided a nice lift off the bench, hitting on a three and a nice driving layup in traffic. The play of the game to that point came from none other than the People’s Champ himself (Will Barton), who threw an inbound off a Blazer’s back (to himself) and threw it down. Regardless of that, the Blazers jumped out to an early lead at the end of the first, ahead 31-25.

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The second quarter started off on a good foot for the Nuggets as they cut into the deficit and about roughly two-thirds through the second, they took a one point lead. Soon after Denver took the lead, Portland took it back, going on a run that included a shot-clock beating three from Aldridge, and another three the next possession from Steve Blake following a Denver miss.

At the end of the half, Portland jumped out to a 58-53 lead at the half thanks to a very impressive inbound play. The Trail Blazers broadcasters refer to this play as “the Batum play” by its design — relying on Nicolas Batum to catch a long pass and flip it to an open shooter in the corner. The play begins with Aldridge inbounding it by throwing it the length of the court to Batum who is at the top of the key. From there he catches it, pivots, and delivers a perfect pass to a wide open Afflalo, who gets the three off in time to beat the buzzer. That was Affalo’s 15th point, leading all scorers going into halftime.

Mar 28, 2015; Portland, OR, USA; Denver Nuggets forward

Kenneth Faried

(35) reacts while shooting around Portland Trail Blazers center

Robin Lopez

(42) at Moda Center at the Rose Quarter. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The third quarter started with two small runs, first by the Nuggets to cut the lead to four with a layup from Ty Lawson and a transition three from Randy Foye. Then the Blazers pushed the lead up to 10 following a couple of threes. Aldridge really took over the game during the third, hitting on a few threes and driving the lane and finishing for the old-fashioned three-point play. Portland had pushed their halftime lead to 76-68 through three quarters.

After Denver went on a run thanks to Nelson scoring most of his 22 points in the fourth, including a three that pulled Denver within three points with 5:36 left in the game, Portland went on a game-clinching seven point run — capped by a dagger from Batum, pushing the lead to ten points with a little over two minutes left in the game. From there Portland controlled the game, never letting the score get closer than four points.

In the end Aldridge was the top performer finishing with 32 points and 11 rebounds. Afflalo scored 21 points in his first meeting against his former team. Denver’s top performer was Nelson, who led them in scoring, and Kenneth Faried, who chipped in a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

This marks the first time the Blazers have swept the Nuggets in consecutive years and this win puts them up six and a half games in the Northwest Division, over Oklahoma City. The Nuggets fall to 28-46 on the year, losing five of the last seven games.

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