With 4.3 seconds remaining and the score tied at 103, Nicolas Batum threw a pass to LaMarcus Aldridge near the free throw line. Aldridge caught the ball, turned and found Lopez guarded one-on-one by J.J. Hickson in the restricted area.
Lopez established good position under the basket, Aldridge delivered him the ball and -- after an ill-advised swipe by Hickson -- Lopez corralled it before converting a layup for a two-point lead. Danilo Gallinari missed a three on the other end to seal the win for the Blazers.
Lopez, who ranks fifth on the Blazers at 11.1 points per game and is not considered one of the team's top offensive options, commented on his winning bucket after the game.
“That was [head coach Terry] Stotts," Lopez said, according to The Oregonian's John Canzano. "I think they assumed anyone would shoot it but me.”
Aldridge led Portland with 39 points and 11 rebounds, and Damian Lillard recorded 17 points and six assists. Ty Lawson paced the Nuggets with 24 points and 13 assists. The win improved the Blazers' record to 14-4 and dropped Denver to 9-9.
The Blazers host the Pacers on Thursday night before embarking on a five-game road trip.