NBA playoffs

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets close out Trail Blazers in Game 6

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets close out Trail Blazers in Game 6

TIGHT DUEL. Nuggets center Nikola Jokic grabs a rebound against Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic in the second half of Game 6.

Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Nuggets rally from a double-digit deficit to boot out the Trail Blazers and avenge their seven-game series loss in 2019

Nikola Jokic finished with 36 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a series-clinching 126-115 victory over the host Portland Trail Blazers in Game 6 of their Western Conference playoff matchup on Thursday night, June 3 (Friday, June 4, Manila time).

The Nuggets rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit to win the series 4-2, advancing to the second round for the third consecutive season. Denver will face either the Phoenix Suns or the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round.

The Blazers were eliminated in the first round for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 28 points and 13 assists, but he couldn’t follow up his epic shooting performance in Game 5, shooting only 3-for-11 from three-point range on Thursday.

Denver, which is now 2-2 all-time in playoff series against Portland, avenged a seven-game series loss to the Blazers in 2019.

The Nuggets capped the victory with a 17-2 run to take a 119-108 lead with 3:20 left.

Lillard answered with five consecutive points, before Jokic answered with a cut to the basket with 1:37 left to extend Denver’s lead back to eight. 

Jokic scored all of his points over the final three quarters. Jokic was often defended by Jusuf Nurkic, who finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds.

Aaron Gordon’s three-pointer with 52.7 seconds left gave Denver a 124-115 edge and effectively sealed the outcome. Gordon totaled 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Denver never led in the second and third quarters and finally took the lead again, 102-101, with 10:10 left in the fourth.

Michael Porter Jr. hit his first six shots, including his first five from three-point range. Porter scored 22 of the Nuggets’ first 27 points and finished with 26 points.

Monte Morris totaled 22 points and 9 assists, and JaMychal Green had 10 points and 9 rebounds off Denver’s bench. Facundo Campazzo finished with 10 points.

For Portland, CJ McCollum finished with 21 points and Norman Powell totaled 17. Robert Covington recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. 

Carmelo Anthony had 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. –