Blazers, Nuggets clash in Mile High City

( - The Portland Trail Blazers will step away from the Rose City for Tuesday's Northwest Division battle with the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.

Portland is in the midst of playing seven of eight games at home and will take on a Denver squad it has beaten twice already this season. The Nuggets had won the previous three games in this series before their current slide and owns a dominating 24-3 mark in the past 27 matchups in the Mile High City.

The Blazers ended a nine-game slide at Denver back on Nov. 1.

Denver and Portland will meet again Saturday in the Beaver State.

Portland won the last two portions of its recent three-game homestand and recorded a 108-97 victory over Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday at the Moda Center. Love's 31 points and 10 rebounds weren't enough to propel the Wolves to victory and they shot just 39.4 percent.

Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard scored 32 points on 11-of-17 shooting and Nicolas Batum ended with 22 points to go along with 10 boards. Wesley Matthews scored 17 points and Thomas Robinson compiled 14 with 18 rebounds for the Blazers, who had lost three straight and four of five games before the current win streak.

The Trail Blazers scored 32 of the 52 points in the third quarter

"The second half was really exciting," said Blazers coach Terry Stotts. "I loved the energy that we played with. Defensively, it was a very good defensive second half. Obviously, the play of Thomas Robinson made a difference for us. Our attitude and our demeanor coming out of halftime is what made the difference."

After Portland visits the Nuggets it will return home for four straight games against Brooklyn, Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta. The Blazers, who sit fifth in the West standings and are giving up 103.6 ppg, have a 17-11 away mark and rank first in the NBA with 107.8 ppg.

Portland is still without All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge because of a strained left groin and he is expected to miss more time.

The Nuggets are allowing 104.7 ppg this season and are missing a star of their own, point guard Ty Lawson. Lawson is still sidelined with a fractured rib.

Denver opened a three-game homestand with Sunday's 109-95 loss to the Sacramento Kings, as Evan Fournier had a career-high 27 points to go along with five assists. Randy Foye posted 27 points and six rebounds for the Nuggets, who have dropped two straight and seven of eight contests.

"Ultimately, they had three guys that we couldn't stop," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "Between Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, they had 92 points."

Fournier is averaging 17.0 points in his last four games.

The Nuggets fell to 1-5 without Lawson, who leads the team in points (18.0 ppg), assists (8.8 apg) and steals (1.5 spg).

Denver has a 14-13 mark as the host and will close the homestand Thursday versus Brooklyn.