Brandon Roy scored 41 points to outshine NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony and spark the Portland Trail Blazers past Denver 107-96 on Friday, tightening their NBA Northwest division rivalry. The Blazers improved to 20-12 on the season, 11-4 at home, while the Nuggets fell to 20-10 but remained one game ahead of Portland in the division lead. Hot-shooting Steve Blake scored 17 points for Portland, his three-pointers in the fourth quarter helping secure the victory. Andre Miller added 14 for the Blazers, who outscored Denver 33-20 in the final 12 minutes.
Roy connected on 16 of 26 from the field and six of six from the free-throw line. The Trail Blazers had sufffered a disappointing loss to the Dallas Mavericks last Christmas, with Roy bagging 22 points, and he said he and his teammates had been determined to put in a better effort this year. "It was Christmas Day, and when we came out, we enjoyed the day a little too much," Roy said. "Today I was focused all day long and I wanted to come out and play well tonight."
Anthony contributed 32 points for Denver to better his NBA-best average of 30.5 points a game, but it was still not enought to carry the Nuggets to victory. JR Smith added 20 points and Kenyon Martin scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Nuggets. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns pummelled the Los Angeles Clippers, posting a 124-93 home victory. Amare Stoudemire scored 26 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while six more Suns players scored in double figures.
* With agencies