Batum makes 9 three-pointers, Blazers down Nuggets
Portland, OR – There was nothing wrong with Nicolas Batum's left knee on Saturday.
Batum returned from a brief two-game absence and nailed a franchise record nine three-pointers en route to a career-high 33 points as the Portland Trail Blazers routed the Denver Nuggets, 117-97.
"All I could do today was shoot from the three-point line, that's it," Batum said.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and nine rebounds while Marcus Camby pulled down 20 boards for the Blazers, who moved to 11-1 at the Rose Garden this season.
Danilo Gallinari netted 20 points while Kosta Koufos finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who have lost four of their last five games.
"They're one of the best home teams in basketball. The times we played them, they're a top-five team. They've played great," Nuggets head coach George Karl said.
Batum's three-pointer late in the first quarter capped a 10-4 Blazers run as the hosts took a 33-24 advantage before taking a 33-26 lead into the second.
Back-to-back Batum treys gave Portland its largest lead of the half, 50-34, with 7:24 to play in second.
But the Nuggets closed the stanza on a 10-2 run, cutting the margin to 59-53 heading into the locker room. Batum had five treys and 17 points in the first half.
The Blazers pulled away in the third quarter.
Koufos' reverse layup pulled the Nuggets within 68-63, but the Blazers responded with a 17-4 run to make it 85-67 with 1:20 to go in the third. Aldridge had eight points during the flurry, which Batum capped with his sixth three-pointer. Portland led, 85-71, after three.
Batum buried three more treys in the final quarter as the Blazers led by as many as 27, cruising to the easy win.
The Blazers scored 24 points off 17 Denver turnovers...Seven of Camby's rebounds were offensive boards...Gerald Wallace added 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for Portland...The Blazers were 15-of-33 from beyond the arc...Portland dished out 30 assists.