Portland completed a season sweep of Denver for the first time in 15 years by beating the Nuggets 102-96 on Saturday, moving within three games of the NBA Western Conference lead.
In the Eastern Conference, Indiana maintained their two-game lead over Miami by struggling past lowly Boston, the Los Angeles Clippers widened their lead in the Pacific Division by crushing New Orleans and Houston held on to beat Detroit.
Portland’s Robin Lopez scored 18 points and LaMarcus Aldridge returned from an injury to add 16 for the Trail Blazers, who won their fifth straight.
Denver, by contrast, have lost five straight, despite Kenneth Faried, Randy Foye and Evan Fournier scoring 16 points apiece.
Indiana had difficulty in dispatching Boston, winning 102-97, with Paul George scoring 10 of the Pacers’ final 12 points.
George led the Pacers with 25 points and Evan Turner added 17 as Indiana won their fourth straight game.
Jeff Green had 27 points for the Celtics, who have lost six of seven.
The Clippers had the luxury of resting Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the fourth quarter and still cruised to a 108-76 win over New Orleans.
Paul had 21 points and eight assists, while Griffin added 20 points.
Tyreke Evans had 22 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans.
Houston opened a big early lead and hung on beat Detroit 118-110, with Terrence Jones leading the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Jones finished 10 of 15 from the floor as Houston shot 50 percent for the game, including 61 percent in the first half. Houston scored 41 points in the first quarter. James Harden added 20 points and 12 assists.
Rodney Stuckey had 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting off the bench for the Pistons, who have lost seven of their past eight.
Miami won their seventh straight game, beating lowly Orlando 112-98, with LeBron James scoring 20 points, having switched to a clear face mask to protect his broken nose.
Dwyane Wade scored 24 points for the Heat, who shot 58 percent. James’ newer mask seemed to bother him more than the black one did, and he frequently took it off when the clock was stopped.
Tobias Harris led Orlando with 20 points.
Memphis used a big second half to overwhelm Cleveland, winning 110-96. Zach Randolph had 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Minnesota beat Sacramento 108-97, with Kevin Martin scoring 26 points to help the Timberwolves reach a .500 record.
Washington won their sixth game in a row, beating Philadelphia 122-103, with Trevor Ariza making eight three-pointers and scoring a career-high 40 points.
Brooklyn’s Marcus Thornton scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to guide the Nets to a 107-98 win over Milwaukee.