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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Recap from the Denver Nuggets' hard-fought Game 4 win over the Portland Trail Blazers

The Denver Nuggets square the series at 2-2 after a hard-fought 116-112 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center.

Coming off a 4OT epic in Game 3, both teams dug deep, with Jamal Murray leading the Nuggets with a game-high 34 points, while Nikola Jokic recorded his fourth triple-double of the postseason.

For the Blazers, the backcourt duo of CJ McCollum (29 points) and Damian Lillard (28 points) led the way, with the series now heading back to Denver for a pivotal Game 5.

Here are three takeaways from tonight's action...

Jamal Murray takes over

Jamal Murray was the difference maker in Game 4, leading the Nuggets with a game-high 34 points on 10-of-20 shooting, making him the first Nugget with back-to-back 30-point playoff games since Carmelo Anthony in 2010.

Murray was aggressive from the jump, setting the tone for the Nuggets with 13 first-quarter points, saving his best for last as he drained six-straight free throws in the final 13 seconds of the game to ice the win.

"I love free throws, everybody knows I love free throws," Murray told TNT post-game. "My teammates trusted me to get me the ball in that situation and I was able to knock them down."

Murray finished the game a perfect 11-of-11 at the charity stripe.

It was just one of those nights for the Canadian, who knocked down a bunch of tough shots, none better than this H-O-R-S-E shot from behind the backboard:

Murray wasn't alone down the stretch, with Will Barton knocking down two huge 3-pointers and Garry Harris scoring five points in the final 2:20 of the game.

Nuggets use big third-quarter run

Trailing by six points at the half, the Nuggets took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Blazers 27-14.

Jokic, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris combined to spark the Nuggets on an 11-1 run to take an 84-77 lead into the fourth.

Denver turned up the heat on the defensive end, zeroing in on Damian Lillard, who shot just 1-of-7 from the field and 0-of-4 from three. Portland combined to shoot 5-of-18 from the field in the quarter.

Gary Harris and Torrey Craig were relentless on defence, hounding Lillard on the perimeter and denying him the ball as he battled with their physicality.

No injury concern for Jokic

Nikola Jokic continued his fantastic playoff campaign, with his fourth triple-double in 11 postseason games, recording 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists on 8-of-15 shooting.

Per ESPN Stats & Info, Jokic is just the seventh player in NBA history with four triple-doubles in a single postseason, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Jason Kidd.

Jokic dished out four of his 11 assists in the final three minutes of the game, facilitating the Nuggets offence, setting up Barton and Harris' clutch buckets.

Late in the game, Jokic sent a scare through the Nuggets as he limped to the bench with what looked like a knee injury, though coach Mike Malone confirmed post-game that it wasn't anything to be worried about.

"He just got kneed, it was nothing serious and we were able to hold on for the win."

Jokic told reporters that he was in pain on the court, but he will be fine moving forward.

"Some numbing on my body and I couldn't stand it but after two or three minutes I was alright," he said.

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