With just a couple of day's rest, the Denver Nuggets win Game 1 of their first Conference Semifinals series in a decade.
The duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray outscored the Blazers' duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum 60-55, carrying the young Nuggets to a victory.
Final: Nuggets 121, Blazers 113
Nikola Jokic did a little bit of everything - 37 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks on 11-of-18 shooting in 42 minutes - as the Serbian center led the team to Game 1 home win.
What a night for The Joker- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 30, 2019
37 PTS | 9 REBS | 6 ASTS | 3 STLS | 2 BLKS pic.twitter.com/BEWeUqLN56
Damian Lillard put up 39 for the Blazers but he didn't have the same contribution from his supporting case like Jokic did. Four of the five stars for the Nuggets finished in double figures while their bench outscored the Blazers' reserves 28-27.
The Nuggets scored 23 points on the Blazers' 18 turnovers and outshot the visitors from beyond the arc.
End of third quarter: Nuggets 93, Blazers 84
Nikola Jokic scores 15 of his game-high 29 points in the third quarter, helping the Nuggets outscore the Blazers 35-29 in the period and take a six-point lead into the final quarter.
Gary Harris, however, had the play of the quarter. Irrespective of the result, this might even be the play of the day:
HOW GARY HARRIS!?! #MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/A4H8pHNHAA- NBA (@NBA) April 30, 2019
Four of Nuggets' five starters have scored in double figures. Jokic also has 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals on an efficient 10-of-16 shooting.
Halftime: Nuggets 58, Blazers 55
The Blazers had their biggest lead of four with 4:15 to go but the Nuggets went on a 13-6 run to end the first half.
Both players have three players in double figures but the Nuggets have two of the game's three highest scorers:
Millsap (17 PTS) and Jokic (14 PTS) have the @nuggets up 58-55 at the break. #MileHighBasketball- NBA (@NBA) April 30, 2019
2nd half coming up on @NBAonTNT. pic.twitter.com/RJAt1Q3SP9
Damian Lillard has been the star for the Blazers - 15 points and 5 assists on 6-of-9 shooting and he received plenty of support from CJ McCollum (12) and Kanter (14 on 7-of-9 shooting).
After two quarters, both teams are shooting above 50.0% shooting - Blazers (23-of-44) and Nuggets (21-of-40). The Blazers have 10 turnovers to the Nuggets' 5 but their three-point shooting (7-of-16) has helped them stay in the game.
End of first quarter: Nuggets 32, Blazers 32
All tied up after the first 12 minutes.
Both teams have scored at will so far, as the visiting Blazers shooting at 63.6% (14-of-22) from the field while the hosts are at 61.9% (13-of-21).
Damian Lillard has 8 points and a game-high 5 assists so far.
That step back filthy. pic.twitter.com/9MoK1MSFto- Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 30, 2019
Four players have a game-high 10 points so far - Enes Kanter (5-of-6), CJ McCollum, Paul Millsap (4-of-5), and Jamal Murray (4-of-6).
The Denver Nuggets start with Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, and Torrey Craig.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers begin the game with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Enes Kanter
⌚👌🗽🔥🇹🇷- Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) April 30, 2019