pcloudyn.png
Friday August 14th, 2020 9:11PM

Jokic's 37 points leads Nuggets past Portland 121-113

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets avoided both an emotional letdown and another Damian Lillard masterpiece .

Forty-eight hours after dispatching the Spurs in their first Game 7 triumph in 41 years, the Nuggets rode a 37-point performance from Nikola Jokic to a 121-113 win over the well-rested Portland Trail Blazers in the opener of their second-round series Monday night.

Lillard, who struck for 50 points, including a 37-footer at the buzzer to oust Oklahoma City in five games, scored two more points than Jokic. But he had a-half dozen turnovers, missed 8 of 12 3-point attempts and Gary Harris blocked his 3 from behind in the closing minute to keep the Trail Blazers from closing in.

"We just made him uncomfortable," said Jamal Murray, who added 23 points and eight assists for Denver to go with just one turnover.

Despite logging 41½ minutes after playing 43½ two nights earlier, Jokic continued his playoff coming-out party by dominating once more. He made 11 of 18 shots and all 12 of his free throws to go with nine boards and a half dozen assists.

"He's a sponge," Paul Millsap said. "He picks it up. He sees how people are playing him and guarding him and he makes the right play every time. That's what's great about him — he doesn't force anything. Everything is going to be the right play. He's going to make the right reads. He's like a quarterback out there.

"I consider him like a Tom Brady — he's always going to pick you apart and make the right reads. Commend him for doing that at this stage in his career. It's unbelievable."

Denver coach Michael Malone was more concerned about his team's emotional state than his players' physical state after a hard-fought series with San Antonio while the Blazers, making their sixth straight playoff appearance, were enjoying nearly a week off.

"Saturday night, an emotional high, winning a Game 7, that was part of my biggest concern about tonight," Malone said. "Obviously you're worried about guarding them but how would we react from that emotional hangover? I thought our guys did a pretty good job."

Game 2 is Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets were coming off a 90-86 win over San Antonio 48 hours earlier, their first Game 7 victory since May 3, 1978, against Milwaukee.

That, said Jokic, was "a really good game for us. It's Game 7 against an experienced team and I think the level of physicality, the level of pace was at a really, really high level that night. It was a really tough game for us to win and we won it. It gave us an example of how we need to play."

That's exactly the kind of mettle Malone was looking for from his team, the youngest in the West.

KANTER RETURNS

The Trail Blazers got a boost from Enes Kanter, who separated his left shoulder in Game 5 against the Thunder. He scored 26 points in his return to the lineup.

"Enes was terrific, very efficient, finished around the basket playing through the shoulder injury," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "I couldn't have asked any more of him."

Kanter was more concerned about facing Jokic.

"I didn't even think about my shoulder," Kanter said. "It's the playoffs."

SLOPPY PLAY

The game was marred by 30 turnovers, but the Blazers turned 12 takeaways to just six points while the Nuggets turned Portland's 18 turnovers into 23 points.

"I think today's game was really sloppy," Jokic said. "There wasn't much defense."

"It was a good offensive game but I thought the turnovers really made the difference," Stotts said.

TIP-INS:

Portland: The Trail Blazers lost three of four to the Nuggets in the regular season, but the Nuggets only outscored them by a cumulative six points. ... The Trail Blazers outshot the Nuggets 51.9% to 50.6%. ...

Denver: The Nuggets are 4-1 at the Pepsi Center in the playoffs after going an NBA-best 37-4 at home during the regular season. ... Denver was 27 of 31 from the free throw line. ... Back-to-back layups by Lillard pulled Portland to within five points with nine minutes left, but Jokic sank a pair of free throws off CJ McCollum's flagrant foul sandwiched by a pair of dunks by Mason Plumlee as Denver pushed its lead back to double digits at 107-96.

___

Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Online Hockey, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Girls outscore boys on tech, engineering, even without class
Though less likely to study in a formal technology or engineering course, America's girls are showing more mastery of those subjects than their boy classmates, according to newly released national education data
1:28AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Jokic's 37 points leads Nuggets past Portland 121-113
Nikola Jokic scores 37 points in the Denver Nuggets' 121-113 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in the opener of their second-round series
1:20AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Suspect in synagogue attack stuns family with radical turn
The lone suspect in a fatal attack on a Southern California synagogue was a star scholar, athlete and musician who recently embraced white supremacy and anti-Semitism
1:14AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Blues prevail in wild 3rd to beat Stars 4-3 for 2-1 lead
Pat Maroon flicked a puck over Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop with 1:38 left in a wild third period, and the St. Louis Blues won 4-3
12:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
Butler scores 30 as 76ers beat Raptors 94-89 to even series
Butler has 30 points and 11 rebounds as 76ers hold off Raptors 94-89 in Game 2, even series 1-1
11:57PM ( 1 hour ago )
LEADING OFF: Sabathia goes for 3,000 Ks, Yelich hobbled
LEADING OFF: CC Sabathia needs 3 Ks for 3,000, NL MVP Christian Yelich among several hobbled stars, Pirates try to stop 8-game slide
11:05PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Trump hosts winning Baylor women's basketball team
President Donald Trump is hosting Baylor University's championship women's basketball team in the Oval Office
5:50PM ( 7 hours ago )
Popovich negotiating new deal with San Antonio Spurs
Coach Gregg Popovich negotiating a new deal with the San Antonio Spurs
4:56PM ( 8 hours ago )
Thunder plan to keep Donovan despite playoff struggles
Thunder plan to keep coach Billy Donovan despite playoff struggles
4:30PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Injuries piling up for Hurricanes during playoff run
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek day to day with a lower body injury, van Riemsdyk out with an upper body injury
1:39PM ( 11 hours ago )
Avalanche beat Sharks 4-3 to even series at game apiece
Tyson Barrie scored the tiebreaking goal and assisted on two others to send the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks that tied their second-round series at a game apiece
11:22PM ( 1 day ago )
Hurricanes rally past Islanders to take 2-0 series lead
Warren Foegele and Nino Niederreiter scored 48 seconds apart early in the third period to rally the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders for a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals
7:52PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Hockey
D'Antoni: Harden not only MVP, but most improved, too
Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni thinks James Harden should win a second straight MVP award but something else as well _ the league's most improved player
6:29PM ( 2 days ago )
Rockets eager for another chance at the champion Warriors
From coach Mike D'Antoni to his stars James Harden and Chris Paul and all the rest of the Rockets, another chance at the champion Golden State Warriors has been on their mind for months
5:43PM ( 2 days ago )
Bucks expecting another hard-fought matchup with Celtics
Top-seeded Bucks thinking about more than revenge entering Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with Celtics
2:47PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Girls outscore boys on tech, engineering, even without class
Though less likely to study in a formal technology or engineering course, America's girls are showing more mastery of those subjects than their boy classmates, according to newly released national education data
1:28AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Suspect in synagogue attack stuns family with radical turn
The lone suspect in a fatal attack on a Southern California synagogue was a star scholar, athlete and musician who recently embraced white supremacy and anti-Semitism
1:14AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Experts: Missing pins possibly caused Seattle crane collapse
Experts say it appears workers who were disassembling a construction crane had removed pins securing sections together, and that could explain why it toppled Saturday, leaving four people dead
1:06AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Chewy.com hopes to overcome gnawing Wall Street memories
Chewy, the online pet store owned by PetSmart, is going public
1:04AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Trump sues banks to block House subpoenas for records
Trump files suit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One in an attempt to block congressional subpoenas for his business records
12:59AM ( 34 minutes ago )