Nuggets Edge Trail Blazers, Even Series at 2-2

 

----- Nikola Jokic had 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists as the Denver Nuggets evened up their Western Conference semifinal series with the Portland Trail Blazers at 2-2 with a 116-112 victory Sunday afternoon at Moda Center.

Nikola Jokic is not human.

After playing 65 minutes in Friday night's quadruple-overtime game, Jokic responded on Sunday with his second-straight triple-double 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists as the Denver Nuggets evened up their Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2 with the Portland Trail Blazers after a 116-112 win Sunday afternoon at Moda Center.

After Friday night's marathon, both teams took the day off on Saturday to rest and get treatment. Perhaps Jokic benefited from some down time.

''Obviously a lot of emotions coming out of that game on Friday night, got together this morning and watched film, talked about the game, and then turned the page and got ready for today. And I think all our guys are in a good place mentally,'' Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone said about reconvening on Sunday.

Jokic had plenty of help in game four. Jamal Murray continued his hot-shooting scoring 34 points including a perfect 11-for-11 from the free throw line, Paul Milsap recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Will Barton added 11 off the bench.

The Trail Blazers started the game on fire from the field scoring 63 points in the first half connecting on eight of their 15 three-pointers.

The Nuggets took control of the game in the third quarter when they held Portland to just 14 points, a playoff-low and outscored them by 13. In the third, Portland committed seven turnovers leading to 11 points for the Nuggets. And offense was hard to come by with the Blazers shooting just 27.8% from the field including 0-for-7 from three-point range. Damian Lillard made just 1-of-7 from the field in the period.

The Nuggets continued their dominance on the glass pulling down 17 offensive rebounds in the game. Denver had a 20-13 edge in second-chance points and an 18-8 edge in points off turnovers.

CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 29 points and Lillard finished with 28. Seth Curry scored 16 points off the bench, all of which came in the first half. He got only one shot attempt in the second half.

Now the Blazers move forward knowing this series is now a best-of-three with two of the remaining games at Pepsi Center in Denver.

''It is disappointing. You go up 3-1 and you have a lot of momentum and obviously that would be a great position to be in. But they're a good team, they came out and played well,'' Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ''We had a bad third quarter and that kind of made the difference. We made a good comeback, but now it's a three-game series.

Up Next- The Nuggets and Blazers will play Game 5 in Denver on Tuesday night. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 PM.

Chad's Take- Hats off to the Nuggets. Their response to Friday night's gut-wrenching loss was very impressive. They are tough and well-coached.

 

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