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Portland Trail Blazers: Blazers Are Perfect so Far, Can It Stay?

Raymond Felton helped the Blazers to a 111-102 win over Denver
Raymond Felton helped the Blazers to a 111-102 win over DenverDoug Pensinger/Getty Images
Jason HarrelContributor IIIDecember 30, 2011

These Portland Trail Blazers that grace their fans in the Rose Garden every home game sure have something special going for them. Well, they sure are giving those fans something special, a perfect 3-0 start to the season as they beat the Denver Nuggets 111-102. 

With all the celebration that Rip City fans are doing, the coaching stat sheet is doing something completely different. Cover your eyes because this won’t be pretty. The Blazers committed 25 turnovers, but allowed the Denver Nuggets to shoot only 40.2 percent from the field. 

LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace worked together like the top names that they are, but only scored 26 points. However, the Blazers scored a season-high 111 points. 

By beating the Nuggets Thursday night, they showed their fans that they were able to be successful even when not playing at their best. 

How did this team once known as the "Jail Blazers" squeak out this win? Well, it came from a new face on the team, Raymond Felton. The new point guard came in and stole the show from Wesley Matthews and had help from Jamal Crawford, who came off the bench. 

Felton finished with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds, which could be his best game with his new team, and like any great performer, he saved the best for last.

While the Blazers were holding on to a 104-100 lead, Felton scored the final seven points and drew a right-on-target charge from Ty Lawson with just seconds remaining. 

This wonderful night by Felton could have not been possible if he didn’t receive the help from his teammates Matthews and Crawford. In the first two games, the duo managed just 15-of-49 shooting, but combined to make more field goals on fewer attempts in one game against the 2-1 nuggets. 

PORTLAND, OR - JANUARY 9: Wesley Matthews #2 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates a three point shot against  the Miami Heat during a game on January 9, 2011 at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and a
Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Matthews caught fire in the third quarter after the Nuggets erased a 13-point Blazer lead to make the game 59-55 early in the second half. Matthews hit back-to-back threes to help erase this lead.

Matthews also hit back-back three-pointers in the closing minutes that broke open a 99-98 Blazer lead, giving them a six-point cushion. He finished with 25 points, and after every big three, he would hold up the three fingers with his right hand held in his imaginary gun holster.

Crawford finished the night with 22 points and five rebounds but did his damage early in the fourth quarter. He scored 14 of the Blazers’ first 16 points of the quarter. 

So, even though the Blazers committed such a high amount of turnovers, they had members of their squad work together to pull their team to another victory. It will only be a matter of time to see which route the Blazers take to be the team they are going to be.

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