----- Nikola Jokic drops a triple-double with 15 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists as the Denver Nuggets edge the Portland Trail Blazers Monday night at Pepsi Center in Denver, CO.
The Trail Blazers couldn't buy a bucket on Monday night. The Blazers shot just 33% on the night including 7-for-33 shooting from three-point range as the Denver Nuggets handed the Blazers to their fourth-straight loss with an 88-82 Monday night at Pepsi Center in Denver, CO.
Nikola Jokic posted his 10th triple-double of the season scoring 15 points, pulling down 20 rebounds, an dishing out 11 assists. Jokic was awarded Western Conference player of the week Jokic averaging 23 points, 10.3 rebounds, 9 assists, 2.33 steals and a block while helping Denver go 3-0 during the week.
Denver (46-35) has now won six-straight games and with a win Wednesday night in Minnesota, they would qualify for the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.
The Blazers by three at 69-66 entering the fourth quarter, but Portland scored just 13 points in the final period on 5-for-17 shooting with six turnovers leading to nine points for the Nuggets.
Jusuf Nurkic led Portland (48-33) with 20 points and 19 rebounds. He was dominant on both ends of the floor connecting on 9-of-15 from the floor and giving maximum energy protecting the rim. Outside of Nurkic, the Blazers' starters failed to make shots. Lillard connected on just 2-for-10 from three-point range, CJ McCollum made just 5-of-18 from the field, and both Al-Farouq Aminu and Evan Turner were a combined 5-for-22.
"I was really proud of the way we defended," head coach Terry Stotts assessed, "especially when you're having trouble making shots. I'm actually encouraged by how we played, how we fought because if we get those type of looks most of the time we're going to be in pretty good shape and we didn't stop competing."
NEXT UP- The Trail Blazers season-finale will be on Wednesday as they host the Utah Jazz at Moda Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 PM.
Chad's Take- It all comes down to one game for the Blazers. Beat Utah on Wednesday and you secure the third seed. Lose, and you likely slide to 5th. Failing to get home court advantage would be an epic fail for this team after 13-straight games.