CJ McCollum scored 20 points, Enes Kanter had 15 points and nine rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the host Denver Nuggets 97-90 in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Wednesday night.
Rodney Hood added 15 points while Damian Lillard scored 14 for the Blazers, who evened the series at 1-1. Al-Farouq Aminu contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Zach Collins scored 10 points.
Nikola Jokic had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamal Murray scored 15 points for Denver. The Nuggets got 14 points and 11 rebounds from Paul Millsap, 13 points from Malik Beasley and 12 points from Gary Harris.
The next two games will be in Portland on Friday and Sunday.
Denver forward Torrey Craig sustained a nose injury when he fell into the leg of teammate Monte Morris early in the second quarter and was bleeding profusely. He was helped to the locker room and returned to the bench in the second half wearing a clear mask. He came back into the game late in the third quarter.
Portland forward Maurice Harkless didn’t play in the second half after rolling his right ankle late in the second quarter.
Portland took control with a dominant defensive second quarter. The Blazers held Denver to just 12 points in the period and 5-of-23 shooting from the floor. The Nuggets went scoreless over the last 4:01 and missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts in the period.
Denver missed its last eight shots and 10 of its last 11 of the quarter to go into halftime trailing 50-35.
The Nuggets twice got the deficit under 10 in the third quarter, but the Blazers answered each charge and led by 14 heading into the fourth quarter.
Denver made another run in the final period. After Seth Curry hit a 3-pointer to put Portland ahead 86-71 with 9:24 left, the Nuggets went on a 10-2 run over the next four minutes to get within seven.
The hosts had a chance to cut into the deficit more, but Harris missed a 3-point attempt. McCollum and Murray traded 3-pointers, and after Denver missed two free throws, Hood hit a corner 3-pointer to make it 94-84 with 2:02 left.
Jokic’s layup with 34.9 seconds remaining got the Nuggets within 95-90. After a Portland turnover, Jokic missed a 3-point try that would have cut the deficit to two. Hood sealed the result with two free throws.
—Field Level Media