BOULDER, CO — The Trail Blazers defeated the Denver Nuggets 93-75 Tuesday night at Coors Events Center, improving to 3-2 in the exhibition season.

LaMarcus Aldridge started hot and never cooled down and Damian Lillard seemed to be in midseason form, as the Blazers’ All-Star duo carried them to a convincing victory over the Nuggets, who fell to 2-4 in the exhibition season.

As promised, Stotts leaned on his starters more than he has at any point in the preseason, playing each of the five mainstays except Robin Lopez at least 30 minutes.

With 9:41 remaining, the Blazers led 76-64 and the Nuggets were running with most of their backups. But Stotts decided to insert Lillard and Lopez into the game, meaning all five starters would play rare fourth quarter exhibition minutes. They ended up playing another six minutes, 18 seconds, extending the Blazers’ lead to 87-68.

No starter had played more than 25 minutes in any preseason outing before Tuesday night, so the extended time pushed them one step closer toward being ready for the regular season opener. Also, the matchup against the Nuggets was the first game of a back-to-back and Stotts will not play any starter except Lillard when the Blazers visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.

“It’s that time of the preseason where we have to start preparing our bodies to play the amount of minutes that we’re going to play in a regular game and get ready for the regular season,” Lillard said. “It was big for us. It felt good to be out there.”

Aldridge finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks — recording his first double-double of the preseason — in 37 minutes. Lillard added 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 36 minutes.

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