Posted on May 10, 2019, by Travis Pulver

Things had not been looking good for the Portland Trail Blazers. After getting out to a 2-1 lead early on in their series against the Denver Nuggets, they dropped the last two. Game Four was a close one, but the were dominated in Game Five.

Because of that, there wasn’t much hope for them to make it to a Game Seven. However, with solid games from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum Thursday night, they were able to do just that.

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It didn’t look too good for the Trail Blazers in the first quarter as the Nuggets got out to an early eight-point lead, 34-26. But then the Trail Blazers started the second with an 11-4 run to get within a point, 38-37. Portland didn’t move ahead until Damian Lillard hit a 26-footer to make the score 48-47 with 5:02 left in the half.

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Going into the break, the Trail Blazers led by four, 58-54.

A close game remained tight for most of the third with Portland holding onto the lead for much of it. The Trail Blazers didn’t really take control until the final minutes of the quarter as they pushed the lead out to seven points, 87-80.

Denver tried to fight the good fight in the fourth but was not able to close the gap. Portland pushed the lead out to double-digits early on and went on to win by 11 points, 119-108.

Damian Lillard came through for the Trail Blazers with a big night going 11-23 from the field and six of 13 from behind the arc for 32 points. It was his best night from three-point range in the series and his highest scoring total since going for 39 in Game One.

“I think over the course of the series, at least after Game 1, I just haven’t seen the ball go in consistently enough,” Lillard said after the game, via ESPN. “My job is to stay aggressive, keep doing what I do, and tonight, shots fell.”        

He got plenty of help from his teammates, though. C.J. McCollum had a 30-point night and Rodney Hood had 25 off the bench. While Enes Kanter wasn’t a scoring threat, but he did pull down 14 rebounds. Zach Collins chipped in 14.

Denver got a solid effort out of its starting five. Nikola Jokic led the way with a double-double, 29 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Jamal Murray with 24. The rest of the starting five also scored in double digits. But it wasn’t enough.

While the Nuggets would have loved to have closed out the series in Portland, they are ready to go back home for a decisive Game Seven.

“I thought our Game 6 here in Portland was better than our Game 6 in San Antonio,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said after the game. “Now we go home and have the best home-court advantage in the NBA.”

Game Seven will be in Denver on Sunday. The winner will face the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

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