2014 NBA scores: LaMarcus Aldridge drops 44 on the Nuggets, Heat squeak by Lakers

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge had a career-high 44 points against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

The Trail Blazers let the Nuggets get out to an early lead and were down by eight at halftime to Denver, but came back for a 110-105 win at home in Portland. Typically bombers from deep, the Blazers had just three three-pointers in the first three quarters on Thursday night, and relied heavily on LaMarcus Aldridge to score for them against the Nuggets.

That was apparently the move to make as Aldridge poured in a career-high 44 points on 15-of-29 shooting, adding 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks. He put the Blazers on his back down the stretch and a measured offensive attack by the Nuggets just wasn't enough to hold him off. Denver got a few chances to tie the game late but couldn't convert.

Portland also got 11 points out of Damian Lillard, including this jam:

Miami Heat 109, Los Angeles Lakers 102

The Heat couldn't decide whether to put away the Lakers, leaving the door open until the final five minutes. The Lakers looked dead in the water through the second and third quarter until they went on a run to start the fourth and drew within five points.

The Lakers have a tendency to put up a fight in big situations, and the Heat have certainly been criticized for sleepwalking though much of the regular season. We got a dose of that Thursday night in Miami.

L.A. went back-and-forth with the Heat, but Chris Bosh was a perfect 5-of-5 in the fourth quarter and eventually the reigning champs proved to be too much for the Lakers. Bosh led all scorers with 31, while LeBron James had 27 points and 13 rebounds, and had this coast-to-coast dunk:

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