Damian Lillard, Blazers Even Series with Game 4 Rout over Nikola Jokic, NuggetsMay 29, 2021
The Portland Trail Blazers outscored the visiting Denver Nuggets 36-19 in the third quarter en route to a 115-95 blowout in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Saturday at Moda Center. With the win, Portland tied the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
Trail Blazers forward Norman Powell's 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting led all scorers. CJ McCollum added 21 points and eight assists, and Jusuf Nurkic pitched in 17 points and six rebounds.
Damian Lillard only shot 1-of-10 and finished with 10 points, but he was excellent in all other aspects of the game. He dished 10 assists, grabbed eight rebounds and hit all seven of his free throws as Portland outscored Denver by 33 with him on the floor.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokic led his team with 16 points.
Blazers F Norman Powell: 29 points, 2 blocks
Blazers SG CJ McCollum: 21 points, 8 assists
Blazers PG Damian Lillard: 10 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds
Nuggets C Nikola Jokic: 16 points, 9 rebounds
Nuggets PG Facundo Campazzo: 12 points, 7 assists, 2 steals
Nuggets G Monte Morris: 12 points, 4 assists
Trail Blazers Run Denver Out of Town With Dominant 3rd Quarter
The Trail Blazers were well in control of this one before starting the second half.
Portland never trailed at all on Saturday, leading 33-25 after one quarter and 57-47 at halftime.
In the third quarter, though, the Blazers turned on the after-burners.
Portland started the half on a 10-0 run to give itself a 20-point edge. Robert Covington's corner three-pointer off a Lillard assist capped the rally:
Powell scored 10 third-quarter points. His last bucket in the frame occurred after he got behind the Denver defense to put Portland up 22:
Ex-NBA center and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins gave Powell credit for his defensive effort too:
Blazer fans at Moda Center also recognized Powell's work, per Orlando Sanchez of KGW TV:
The Blazers' attack was relentless outside Powell, too, with Carmelo Anthony getting in on the action:
It was a phenomenal response from the Trail Blazers, which came close to pulling off an epic late comeback against Denver in Game 3 before losing at home 120-115.
Now, the Blazers will look to steal Game 5 in Denver in the hopes of closing out the first round back in Portland for Game 6.
Everything Goes Wrong for Denver in Brutal Loss
Denver shot 34.0 percent from the field and 13-of-44 (29.5 percent) from three-point range on an afternoon that no Nuggets player fared well, including Jokic, the likely NBA MVP. Jokic went 7-of-18 from the floor and had more turnovers (two) than assists (one).
The Blazers also outscored Denver by 32 points with the superstar on the floor.
NBA writer T.J. McBride and Adam Mares of DNVR Sports also gave takes on Jokic, who appeared fatigued:
Jokic has been incredible this season as he's assumed more responsibilities after point guard Jamal Murray was lost for the season with a torn left ACL. His 15.6 win shares, per Basketball-Reference, were No. 1 in the NBA by a long shot during the regular season (Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert was second with 11.3).
But this was not his day, and the same went for his teammates.
Denver never led with Portland controlling the action from start to finish. Nick Kosmider of The Athletic noted how the Nuggets were running uphill from the jump:
Elsewhere, Michael Porter Jr., who entered the game averaging 19.0 points a night, hit just one three-pointer and finished the afternoon 1-of-3 from the field. Aaron Gordon had just six points.
The good news for the Nuggets is they still have home-court advantage as the series shifts back to Denver for Game 5.
Coming back from this brutal loss could be a tall order, though, as Portland simply crushed Denver to swing the momentum of the series.
Denver will host Game 5 at Ball Arena on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. Game 6 will be Thursday in Portland at a to-be-determined time.