Aldridge, Lillard connect in Blazers' 93-75 win
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge scored 20 points and had 11 rebounds in Portland's 93-75 win over Denver in an exhibition game Tuesday.
Damian Lillard had 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting to go with six assists for the Blazers at the Coors Event Center. Wesley Matthews went 4 for 7 from beyond the arc for 17 points for Portland, which won its third straight game.
While Wilson Chandler had a team-high 13 points and Darrell Arthur added 10 points, the Nuggets shot just 33 percent from the field in their fourth loss in five games.
The Trail Blazers are out to prove last year's Western Conference semifinals run wasn't their last. The Trail Blazers grabbed their first lead on a 20-foot Aldridge jumper with 10:06 left in the first quarter and never let it go.
''I think we can be good - we can be really, really good,'' Matthews said. ''I think we deserve to be talked (about) as contenders in the West. I really believe that.''
The Nuggets, meanwhile, ended each half poorly, scoring 12 points in the second quarter and only 16 in the fourth.
Denver coach Brian Shaw said it was evident his team was without their best player in guard Ty Lawson, who was out with a sore hamstring.
''If anything happens to Ty, it's going to be tough for us,'' Shaw said.
The Nuggets: JaVale McGee returned to the court for the first time since suffering a stress fracture in his left leg and playing just five games last season. . Ty Lawson sat out with sore hamstring and is considered day-to-day.
The Blazers: The 7-foot-tall Robin Lopez scored four of his six points by going one-on-one with 5-foot-9 Nuggets guard Nate Robinson, who was forced to foul Lopez twice under the hoop. . Denver has two more exhibition games before hosting the Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder to open the season Oct. 29.
FAST AS HE CAN
The 7-foot McGee looked out of sorts on the court Tuesday. He had one point, went 0-for-3 from the field and grabbed two rebounds in just over 10 minutes of play. ''I don't want to prejudge JaVale, but I don't have any time to wait as well. We'll bring him along as fast as he progresses,'' Shaw said.
All-Stars Aldridge and Lillard are starting to connect on the court, scoring 13 of Portland's first 15 points Tuesday.
Denver visits Golden State on Friday.
The Blazers travel to face the Lakers on Wednesday.