----- Nikola Jokic scored 25 points and pulled down 19 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets take a 3-2 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 124-98 win Tuesday night at Pepsi Center.
The Denver Nuggets are now one-win away from securing their first trip to the Western Conference Finals in a decade.
Nikola Jokic scored 25 points and tied a team playoff-high with 19 rebounds as the Nuggets crushed the Trail Blazers 124-98 in game five of their Western Conference semifinal series taking a 3-2 lead.
Denver never trailed in the game as they stretched a six-point lead after one quarter to 18 at the half and 28 heading into the fourth quarter. The Nuggets led by as many as 31 before garbage time took over the final moments of the game.
Paul Milsap scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half and Gary Harris and Jamal Murray combined for 34 points. Denver connected on 48.9% of their field goals, scored 66 points in the paint, and had a 12-2 edge in fast break points.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 22 points but once again struggled beyond the arc, making just 2-of-9 from three-point range. Al-Farouq Aminu and Maurice Harkless combined for just eight points and their shooting struggles continued. For the series, Harkless and Aminu are a combined 5-for-26 from three-point range.
After tonight, the Blazers now know it's win or go home.
“I think our mindset should be, just take care of home,” Lillard said. “We know that we are more than capable of getting it done. We’ve played our best basketball with our backs against the wall.”
The Nuggets have been in this situation before after taking a 3-2 series lead on San Antonio after a blowout win in the first round. This time, they are hoping for a different result.
“We know going into Portland for Game 6, it’s going to be a really tough game,” Denver Coach Mike Malone said,. “Game Six in San Antonio, we did not come ready to play, mentally or physically. I hope that we have a much different mindset going into Portland for Game Six.”
Up Next- Nuggets and Blazers will return to Portland to play game six Thursday night at Moda Center. Scheduled time for tip off is 7:30 PM.
Chad's Take- It was a clunker, but Denver did not win the series in game five. Blazers need to reset and focus on game six Thursday.