Jamal Murray scores career-high 38 as Nuggets down Blazers to spoil Jusuf Nurkic's return to Denver
Denvr guard Jamal Murray goes 14 for 19 including 4 for 6 from beyond the arc. AP

DENVER — Jamal Murray scored a career-high 38 points, including a three-point play in the final minute, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 104-101, on Monday night (Tuesday, Manila time).

Nikola Jokic had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Will Barton hit four free throws in the final 10 seconds to secure the win and spoil Jusuf Nurkic's return to Denver.

Nurkic had 19 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in his first game back at Pepsi Center. Damian Lillard had 25 points and seven assists for Portland.

Nurkic played two-plus seasons with the Nuggets to begin his career, and was playing his first game in Denver since he was dealt to Portland last season. He received a smattering of boos when he was introduced as a starter and a few during the game.

He nearly had a happy return, but the Trail Blazers couldn't hold a late lead.

Lillard gave Portland a 93-86 advantage with a 3-pointer, but the Nuggets rallied to take a 97-95 lead on Mason Plumlee's dunk. CJ McCollum hit two free throws and Lillard hit a running bank shot to give Portland a 99-97 lead with 41.7 seconds left.

Murray's three-point play with 33.6 seconds remaining gave Denver back the lead. The Trail Blazers had two chances to go back in front but couldn't convert. Barton hit two free throws, and after Nurkic's dunk, sealed it with two more foul shots with 1.8 seconds left.

Nurkic got going in the third quarter on both ends of the floor. He had 11 points, six rebounds and blocked Jokic's shot near the basket. Later in the possession he stole the ball from his former teammate, which led to a Portland fast break.

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: Lillard was selected the Western Conference player of the week by the NBA on Monday. He averaged 29.3 points and eight assists as Portland swept its three games last week. ... The Trail Blazers had more steals (eight) than fouls (seven) in the first half. ... Portland has scored 100 or more points in 12 straight games.

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Nuggets: Murray's previous career high was 32 points. ... F Wilson Chandler came off the bench after starting all 42 games in which he had played this season. ... F Kenneth Faried was inactive with left ankle soreness.

UP NEXT

Trail Blazers: Host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

Nuggets: Host the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

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