Unbeaten Nuggets, Blazers clash at Rose Garden

Two unbeaten squads in the Northwest Division get together tonight at the Rose Garden, where the Portland Trail Blazers battle the rival Denver Nuggets.

Portland will close out a three-game homestand tonight, having defeated Philadelphia and Sacramento in the first two installments of the residency. After squeezing past the Sixers with a 107-103 win on Monday, the Blazers remained unbeaten with a 101-79 triumph versus the Kings the next night.

Gerald Wallace had 25 points and eight rebounds. while LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 points and eight boards as well for the Blazers. Nicolas Batum was the only player to score in double figures with 15 points and newcomer Jamal Crawford was held to six off the bench.

"I thought we were stagnant the first half," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "The defense turned up, which led to some transition. We were able to get out and score some points."

The Trail Blazers will play two straight and three of four road games after closing out this homestand. They won their first three games of the season just last year.

Denver opened the condensed season by dethroning defending champion Dallas in Big D by a 115-93 score on Monday, then won its home opener by a 117-100 margin over Utah at the Pepsi Center.

Nene led the way with 25 points and seven boards, and Al Harrington finished with 18 points to go with seven rebounds for the Nuggets, who got 15 points out of Ty Lawson and 11 points from both Rudy Fernandez and Danilo Gallinari.

"We trust each other," Nene said. "We're going to try and help each other, we're going to pass the ball and we're going to make shots, that's a team. We had fun out there, everybody saw that. When we play the right way, we're going to have fun."

Denver shot 54 percent from the floor and 32 percent from beyond the arc, and hasn't won three straight to start a season since beginning the 2009-10 campaign with a 5-0 mark. Gallinari, who was acquired in the Carmelo Anthony deal a year ago, has posted at least 10 points and five rebounds in the first two games of the season.

The Nuggets have kicked off the new season with consecutive double-digit wins for the first time since the 1985-86 campaign. Former Blazer Andre Miller, who recorded seven points and 12 assists against the Jazz, will face his old team. The Nuggets will also visit the Los Angeles Lakers on this brief road trip.

Portland and Denver split four meetings a year ago, with each team winning as the host. The Nuggets have lost three in a row and five of their last six visits to the Rose City. Aldridge is averaging 15.2 points and 8.4 rebounds in 19 career games against the Nuggets.

Nene is averaging 14.6 points and 7.3 boards in 27 career games versus the Blazers.