NBA: Nikola Jokic scores 38 as Nuggets pull even with Blazers

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at May 25 2021 01:44 PM | Updated as of May 25 2021 01:54 PM

NBA: Nikola Jokic scores 38 as Nuggets pull even with Blazers 1
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) attempts a shot as Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) defends in the first quarter during Game 2 in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Ball Arena. Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.


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).

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.

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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.

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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