PORTLAND — Wesley Matthews scored 14 of his 19 points during the second quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 97-80 Wednesday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14 points to help the Trail Blazers win in their home preseason debut. Matthews and Aldridge each hit seven of 12 shots from the floor.
Victor Claver hit three three-pointers and scored 13 points for Portland. Blazers guard Coby Karl scored 11 points in 21 minutes. Karl is the son of Denver coach George Karl.
Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Andre Miller, Evan Fournier and Jordan Hamilton scored nine points each for Denver.
The Nuggets struggled from three-point range, hitting two of 20 shots from behind the arc.
Portland started sluggishly, and Faried scored eight points early in the first quarter to give Denver a 19-14 lead. Sparked by Karl’s four-point play, the Blazers finished the opening quarter with a 10-0 run to take a 26-23 lead.
Matthews fueled Portland’s second-quarter surge, as he hit five of seven shots, including two three-pointers, that staked the Blazers to a 54-39 halftime lead.
Aldridge and Matthews combined to score nine of Portland’s first 11 points of the third quarter as the Blazers built their lead to 20 points. Denver was unable to get closer than nine points the rest of the game.
Portland rookie point guard Damian Lillard, the No. 6 pick in the draft, sat out Wednesday’s game with a foot injury. Nolan Smith, starting in Lillard’s absence, had eight assists to lead all players. Also sidelined for the Blazers was reserve point guard Ronnie Price, who has missed two games with an ankle injury.
Portland has three preseason games left before opening the regular season Oct. 31.
—The Associated Press