Wilson Chandler acknowledged feeling a bit winded and tired in his second game back from hip problems that had sidelined him for two months. Not enough to bother his shooting touch, though.
Chandler hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 115-111 Tuesday night for their season-best sixth consecutive victory.
”The way the game was going for me, I was a little fatigued,” said Chandler, who had a labral tear in his left hip repaired last spring and then had to take time off in early November when pain resurfaced in the surgically-repaired hip.
”I had a little muscle fatigue, so I was kind of struggling throughout the game. So to come in and hit a shot like that is big,” Chandler said.
Danilo Gallinari added 25 points, including a key 3-pointer in the extra period. Ty Lawson had 24 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets, who are 2-0 in overtime this season.
”I was trying to attack, and when I attack, it brings assists because people have to double me or come over and help,” Lawson said. ”We played well in the second half. Got steals, deflections in the second half that led to easy baskets. In overtime, we just hit big shots.”
Portland, which lost for the first time in six OT games this season, was led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 28 points. Nicolas Batum had 22 points, J.J. Hickson 19 and Damian Lillard 16.
”It was a tremendous game,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. ”I think for the most part, both teams played pretty well. Third quarter turnovers hurt us, their transition hurt us. We got better as the game went on but that hurt us early.”
Gallinari hit his third 3 of the game for an overtime lead but Aldridge responded with a turnaround jumper that tied it 109-all with 51.8 seconds left. Lawson then lobbed a pass to JaVale McGee for an alley-oop dunk.
The game was tied again when Aldridge hit both free throws after being fouled by McGee, setting the stage for the decisive shot by Chandler. Chandler got open in the corner and Andre Iguodala got the ball to him. Chandler caught it, immediately put up the shot and it swished through.
”They were going to have to leave someone open,” Lawson said. ”Iggy got it going, getting to the basket, so they had to leave someone open and Wilson hit a big shot.”
Lillard just missed a 3-point try with 3.2 seconds left and Lawson made one of two free throws for the final score.
”That wasn’t what we were looking for,” Lillard said. ”But we moved the ball around a little bit, and there were just a few seconds left, so we had to get a shot up. That was the look I had. It felt good actually. I knew I was going to have to shoot it when it came back to me, so I got myself ready to shoot. It came off my hands well. It looked good. It just didn’t fall. We’ve got to live with what happened and get ready for tomorrow.”
After Wesley Matthews hit a 5-foot runner to pull the Trail Blazers to 89-86 with 5:13 left, the Nuggets scored six straight points, starting with a pair of free throws by Kenneth Faried, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds, to stretch their lead to 95-86.
Portland came right back, scoring 10 of the next 12 points and pulling to 97-96 on a layup by Aldridge.
Lawson shook free on a drive to the basket for a layup with 45.4 seconds remaining to push the Nuggets’ advantage to three.
But Wesley Matthews hit a tying 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining in regulation. Shots by Iguodala and Lillard both were off the mark in the final moments of the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime tied at 99.
Portland opened with its highest-scoring first quarter of the season, though Denver stayed right with the Trail Blazers at 35-33.
After a driving layup by Lawson put the Nuggets in front 51-50, Hickson converted a three-point play and Aldridge hit a jumper to help the Trail Blazers lead 57-54 at halftime.
NOTES: Portland’s previous first-quarter high was 31 points against the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 26. … Faried had his 18th double-double of the season. … The Nuggets have won 22 of their last 24 home games against the Trail Blazers, including the past eight. … Portland hasn’t won in Denver since Dec. 16, 2007, a 116-105 victory.