Sat, Jan 25, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Trail Blazers power closer to Western Conference lead

AP, PORTLAND, Oregon

The Portland Trail Blazers’ power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, left, posts up against Denver Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried in the first quarter of their game in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday.

Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY

Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge had a career-high 44 points and 13 rebounds to power the Trail Blazers to a 110-105 win over Denver on Thursday, moving them within a game of the NBA Western Conference lead.

In the day’s other game, Miami never trailed in beating the struggling Los Angeles Lakers.

Portland’s Wesley Matthews added 24 points for the Blazers, who had lost their previous two games, but maintained a record of not having lost three in a row all season.

Wilson Chandler had 18 points for Denver, who led by 15 points in the third quarter and looked set for an impressive road win, but could not hold off Portland’s comeback.

The teams wrestled for control of the game in the closing stages and the Nuggets were still in with a chance in the dying seconds, but Chandler missed a jump shot with eight seconds left and Aldridge made more free-throws for the final margin.

Miami’s Chris Bosh scored 31 points, and LeBron James added 27 points and 13 rebounds to guide the Heat to a 109-102 win over the Lakers.

Miami has now beaten Los Angeles eight times out of nine, taking this one by shooting 58 percent and outrebounding the Lakers 48-35.

Jodie Meeks and Pau Gasol each scored 22 points for the Lakers, who have won only three of their past 17 games. This was a more competitive performance, coming from 16 points down to be within four in the last minute.

Bosh had the biggest shot of the night with 54.4 seconds left, head-faking his way free at the top of the key, stepping in and hitting a 20-footer to give Miami a 108-101 lead and making it a three-possession game. The Heat forced a miss on the Lakers’ next trip, then held on.

Miami was without Dwyane Wade for the fourth straight game due to his knee problems.

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