Nikola Jokic scores 38 as Nuggets pull even with Trail Blazers | Inquirer Sports
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Nikola Jokic scores 38 as Nuggets pull even with Trail Blazers

/ 02:45 PM May 25, 2021
Nikola Jokic #15 and Aaron Gordon #50 of the Denver Nuggets

 Nikola Jokic #15 and Aaron Gordon #50 of the Denver Nuggets exchange words with Robert Covington #23 and CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first quarter during Game Two of their Western Conference first-round playoff series at Ball Arena on May 24, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

Nikola Jokic scored 38 points, Michael Porter Jr. had 18 and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 128-109 in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Monday.

The Nuggets evened the best-of-seven series 1-1 with help from Paul Millsap (15 points), Aaron Gordon (13), Monte Morris (12) and Facundo Campazzo (12).

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Game 3 is Thursday night in Portland.

Damian Lillard scored 22 of his game-high 42 points in the second quarter and added 10 assists for the Trail Blazers. CJ McCollum scored 21, Norman Powell had 15 and Jusuf Nurkic grabbed 13 rebounds.

It was a testy game that featured four technical fouls and two flagrant fouls.

Denver led by 12 at halftime and stretched the margin to 81-66 on a basket by Campazzo. The Trail Blazers got within 10, but the Nuggets scored seven straight to lead 91-74.

The hosts pushed the gap to 20 on a 3-pointer by Gordon late in the third, but the Trail Blazers hit two from deep in the final 30 seconds to get within 101-87 heading into the fourth.

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Portland further cut into the deficit to claw within 11 early in the final period before Denver pulled away. Millsap hit two free throws and a layup, Porter drained a 3-pointer and then had a steal that led to a dunk for Shaquille Harrison during an 11-2 run that made it 114-94 with 7:41 left.

The Trail Blazers scored the next four points, but the Nuggets came right back and went ahead by 21 on a 3-pointer by Campazzo. Portland emptied its bench with 3:36 left.

The Nuggets led by six after the first quarter and opened up an 18-point lead early in the second, but Lillard brought the Trail Blazers back on his own. He hit four of his eight first-half 3-pointers in 3 1/2 minutes to cut the deficit to 65-61.

Denver scored the last eight points of the quarter to lead 73-61 at the break.

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