DENVER (AP) Danilo Gallinari scored 20 of his 27 points in the first half and the Denver Nuggets led big early before holding on late to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 132-120 Thursday night.
Gary Harris scored 18 in his return to the Nuggets’ lineup. It was Denver’s second win in the last 15 games against the Trail Blazers, who got 40 points and 10 assists from Damian Lillard.
CJ McCollum scored 23 for Portland, which has lost five of six.
The Nuggets snapped a three-game skid at Pepsi Center, where they are 4-7 this season. One of those defeats came in their home opener against Portland when they blew a late lead and lost in overtime.
Denver never trailed in this one, but the Trail Blazers tried to make it a game in the fourth behind Lillard. He scored 14 points in the last 12 minutes as Portland rallied. After trailing by as many as 25 in the first half and 21 in the third quarter, the margin was just 10 in the fourth.
Denver responded with an 11-5 run to push the lead to 16, and Portland never got the deficit under 10 again.
Trail Blazers: F Al-Farouq Aminu missed his second straight game with a back injury. … Lillard has scored 30 or more points in three of his last five games.
Nuggets: The 132 points were a season high. … Denver Broncos LB Shaquil Barrett was in attendance. He hit a halfcourt shot during a late timeout to the delight of the sparse crowd. … With Harris returning from a foot injury that cost him 16 games, Denver was at full strength for the first time this season. Alonzo Gee was inactive and Malik Beasley is with Sioux Falls of the D-League.
REMEMBERING CRAIG SAGER
There was a moment of silence before the national anthem following the death of Sager, the longtime TNT sideline reporter. Denver coach Michael Malone and Portland coach Terry Stotts spoke about Sager before the game. Malone said it is ”a tough loss for the entire NBA family,” while Stotts said ”his legacy will go well beyond just his suits and colorful personality. Just the way he lived his life, the way he battled cancer will long be remembered.”
Trail Blazers: At the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
Nuggets: Welcome back Carmelo Anthony when the New York Knicks visit Saturday night.