Nuggets End Losing Skid; Beat Blazers

DENVER - (AP) Nene scored 19 points and had 11 rebounds, Chauncey Billups added 19 points and 10 assists, and the Denver Nuggets overcame the absence of Carmelo Anthony to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 97-89 on Monday night.

Five players scored in double figures for the Nuggets, who ended a three-game losing streak.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and Travis Outlaw had 15 for the Trail Blazers. Brandon Roy, who scored 52 points against Phoenix on Thursday, was held to eight.

Anthony sat out with what the Nuggets called a right elbow contusion, which has bothered him since training camp. He will also miss Tuesday's game in Portland and Friday's home game against Philadelphia.

The Nuggets led 85-83 halfway through the fourth when they took control. Linas Kleiza, who finished with 17 points, hit a 3-pointer and J.R. Smith's two jumpers extended the lead to 92-85 with 4:18 left.

The Trail Blazers cut it to 93-89 with 1:20 to play, but Kleiza's dunk with 48 seconds left sealed the victory.

Smith, who started in place of Anthony, finished with 15 points.

Nene had 10 points in the second quarter and led the Nuggets with 13 points in the first half. Denver led 53-47 at the break despite the Trail Blazers' hot shooting from long range. Portland hit 6 of 10 3-pointers in the first half but just 38.6 percent overall from the field at halftime.

Billups scored eight points and Smith had six as the Nuggets took a 29-22 late in the first quarter. Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez hit 3-pointers to cut the lead to 29-27 heading into the second quarter.


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