Six games. Four leading scorers. Five victories.
As expected, a wealth of talent is translating into immediate success for the Portland Trail Blazers.
"We have a whole lot of scorers here," said Rasheed Wallace, who had 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Blazers to a 93-78 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. "I don't think it will be the same person every night like it is for most teams."
"When you have a lot of guys who can score, you tend to have problems because everybody wants to do it," said Schrempf, who signed as a free agent in the offseason, "but we have a good mix of guys who know what it takes to win and who don't have egos. So far it's been pretty good."
Portland (5-1), coming off its only loss of the season Tuesday, threatened to blow the game open after halftime, building a 65-41 lead only to see Denver storm back in the third quarter.
George McCloud's 3-pointer to open the fourth capped a 23-4 run that pulled Denver within five, but Greg Anthony and Wallace combined for 12 points during a 14-3 spurt that pushed the lead back to 16 with 6:53 remaining.
"It almost looked like the last five minutes of the first half we had decided we had no chance," Nuggets coach Dan Issel said. "In most NBA games the team that is behind is going to make a run if they hae any character."
Denver, which lost for the first time in the new Pepsi Center, never managed to get closer than 14 points after Portland's recovery, falling victim to turnovers and poor shooting.
"I couldn't get into a groove," Mercer said. "It was hard getting into a groove, and I tried to pass the ball more."
As a team, the Nuggets shot 37 percent from the floor in losing to Portland for the fifth straight time. Denver (2-3) also faced a double-digit deficit for the fifth time this season.
"We have to do something, so we are ready to play and don't keep digging ourselves such deep holes," Issel said. "We aren't good enough to play from behind all the time."
The Blazers led by five after the first quarter and built it to 18 by halftime after outscoring Denver 30-17 in the second period.
Portland, shooting less than 29 percent from 3-point range entering the game, hit 6-of-8 shots from behind the arc in the first half. Smith led the way by hitting all four his 3-pointers.
"I took what the defense gave me, but in the second half they weren't giving me open looks," Smith said. "We have so many guys that can play. Rasheed was hot, so we went there and we got the win."
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