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Aldridge scores 44 to fire Blazers

By Chris Pike
24 January 2014 07:14PM EST

LAMARCUS Aldridge continued to push his case as an MVP-candidate leading Portland to an NBA win over Denver on Thursday while the All-Star starters were also announced.

There were just the two matches in the NBA on Thursday night with the Miami Heat beating the Los Angeles Lakers 109-102 and the Portland Trail Blazers beating the Denver Nuggets 110-105.

Miami did as expected at home on Thursday night and comfortably beat the undermanned Los Angeles Lakers by seven points.

The win improves the Heat to a 31-12 record on the season to remain three games behind the eastern conference leading Indiana Pacers while the Lakers slip to 16-27 to be eight games out of eighth spot in the west.

Chris Bosh led the way for the Heat finishing with 31 points and six rebounds on the back of shooting 15-of-22 from the field.

It is the ninth time in his career that Bosh has taken 20 or more shots for the Heat and the team has won all nine of those matches.

LeBron James also added 27 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for Miami while Mario Chalmers scored 11 points, Norris Cole 11 and Ray Allen 10.

The Lakers were again without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Chris Kaman, Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake, but still put in a competitive effort against the two-time defending NBA champions.

Pau Gasol finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers with Jodie Meeks adding 22 points and Nick Young 19. Kendall Marshall dished out 11 assists.

Portland then bounced back from a last-up loss to Oklahoma City to maintain touch with the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs atop the western conference with a five-point win at home to Denver on Thursday night set up by a 24-14 fourth quarter.

The win sees the Blazers improve to a 32-11 record on the season to remain in third position in the western conference standings behind the 32-10 Spurs and 33-10 Thunder.

MVP-candidate LaMarcus Aldridge again led the way for the Trail Blazers with a career-best 44 points to go with 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots on the back of shooting 15-of-29 from the field.

Wesley Matthews also added 24 points and four assists for the Blazers with centre Robin Lopez finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds, and point guard Damian Lillard 11 points.

Wilson Chandler top-scored for the Nuggets with 18 points while point guard Ty Lawson finished with 13 points and 11 assists.

Randy Foye also scored 14 points for Denver with Nate Robinson adding 13 points, Anthony Randolph 12 and JJ Hickson 12.

Meanwhile, the starters for the NBA All-Star game on February 16 game in New Orleans have been announced with the 10 players selected by fan votes.

The eastern conference starters will be Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, Miami Heat duo Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Indiana Pacers star Paul George.

The western conference will be represented by injured LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant, Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, LA Clippers star Blake Griffin and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love.

The reserves will be decided by a selection panel.

NBA Results Thursday January 23
Los Angeles Lakers (16-27) 102 lost to Miami Heat (31-12) 109
Denver Nuggets (20-21) 105 lost to Portland Trail Blazers (32-11) 110

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