PORTLAND - The Portland Trail Blazers were expected to have another rebuilding year after losing their future franchise player to injury before the season even started. Instead, they have won 10 straight - the longest winning streak in the NBA this season.
Martell Webster scored 19 points while Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge each added 18 in Portland's 99-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. It was the second win over the Nuggets in less than a week.
"Who would have thought Portland would do that?" Roy mused about the streak. "You'd think it would be Dallas or Phoenix."
Portland has not won as many consecutive games since the Blazers were victorious in 12 straight in the 2001-02 season.
"It's hard to say they're creeping up on teams. They are a hot team and they are playing well right now," said Denver's Carmelo Anthony. "Everything they throw up is going in and they are playing together right now."
Anthony and Allen Iverson each had 34 points for the Nuggets. Anthony added 12 rebounds.
Portland, the youngest team in the NBA, started the streak with a win Dec. 3 at Memphis, after going 5-12 to start the season. Seven of the 10 wins have come at home, where the Blazers are 12-3.
"We're a young team but we're growing up. We're maturing a lot during this win streak," Roy said. "If you watched tonight it wasn't just a young team that's hot. We had to work for this and face adversity, but we came through."
With the game tied at 94, James Jones made the second of two free throws with 36.2 seconds left.
After Roy blocked Anthony's try, Travis Outlaw made a pair of free throws to give the Blazers a 97-94 lead. Iverson's driving layup with 6.9 seconds left narrowed the deficit to one.
Jarrett Jack made a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to three before Linas Kleiza's 3-pointer was blocked by Outlaw for the final margin.
Denver was playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Nuggets beat Houston in double overtime on a last-second jumper by Anthony Carter.
The Nuggets were without starting forward Kenyon Martin. He left in the second half against the Rockets with a leg injury and did not return.