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First place on the line last night with little more than a month to go in the regular season. Portland at Denver. A big game that you'd think would prompt the Trail Blazers to come out with a nasty attitude to match Nuggets such as Chauncey Billups and Nene.

Uh, think again.

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Yeah, LaMarcus Aldridge came back on Birdman shortly after.

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But such signs of fight were rare last night.

We know the Blazers were on the second half of a back-to-back and a road win at an altitude-sucker like Mile High Denver is always tough. But neither disguises the fact the effort — matador defense and all — was horrific. Lots of blame to go around but the awards for sheer futility defensively and offensively can be shared by Sergio Rodriguez and Channing Frye, much as we love him.

Their numbers are painful.