National Basketball Association
Denver 88, Portland 82
When: 9:00 PM ET, Monday, April 9, 2018
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
#72 J.T. Orr, #30 John Goble, #58 Josh Tiven
Nikola Jokic had his second triple-double in as many games, and the Nuggets used a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the visiting Portland Trail Blazers 88-82 Monday night, keeping Denver's playoff hopes alive.
The Nuggets, who trailed by 11 points early in the third quarter, outscored the Trail Blazers 22-13 in the fourth quarter.
Denver, which won its sixth straight game, and Minnesota are both 46-35 and tied for eighth place in the Western Conference standings. The winner of the Nuggets' Wednesday night regular-season finale in Minneapolis will go to the playoffs, while the loser will be eliminated.
Jokic recorded 15 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists for the Nuggets. Will Barton scored 22 points to lead Denver.
Damian Lillard scored 25 points and Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and 19 rebounds for the Blazers, who lost their fourth consecutive game. Portland missed its chance to clinch home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a victory. The Blazers can assure themselves of the No. 3 seed in the West by beating the fourth-place Utah Jazz at home Wednesday night.
Nurkic, Lillard and CJ McCollum each scored 11 first-half points and Nurkic had 11 rebounds to stake Portland to a 49-42 halftime lead. Barton had 12 points at the break for the Nuggets.
The Blazers increased the difference to 59-48 early in the third quarter. The Nuggets closed to within 66-65 late in the quarter. Portland took a 69-66 edge into the final period.
Portland's lead was 71-66 when the Nuggets went on a 9-0 run to go on top 75-71. Lillard hit a pair at the line to trim it to 75-73 with 6:36 remaining. Nurkic scored on a post-up to tie it at 75-75 with six minutes to play.
Jokic sank a 3-pointer to give Denver a 78-75 lead with 5:31 to go. Nurkic's hook shot brought Portland within 78-77 with 4:19 left.
Barton's driving layup increased the Nuggets' lead to 80-77 with 2:52 to go. Jamal Murray's layup made it 82-77 with 1:54 to play. Lillard's layup brought Portland within 82-79 with 1:12 remaining.
Nurkic split a pair at the line to make it 82-80 with 47 seconds left. Murray sank two foul shots to push the Nuggets ahead 84-80 with 30.3 seconds to go.
Two more free throws by Gary Harris made it 86-80 with 20 seconds on the clock. Lillard scored on a drive with 12.3 seconds left, and Barton wrapped it up with two foul shots with 11.3 ticks left.
After McCollum opened the game with a 3-pointer, Denver scored 12 points in a row to take a nine-point lead. The Blazers answered with a 13-4 run to tie it at 16-16. The Nuggets came back with an 8-0 spurt to go ahead 24-16. Denver settled for a 28-23 advantage after one quarter.
The Blazers took the lead at 41-36 after a trey by Shabazz Napier midway through the second quarter. Portland carried a seven-point edge into intermission.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Damian Lillard 25
Will Barton 22
Damian Lillard 3
Nikola Jokic 11
Jusuf Nurkic 19
Nikola Jokic 20
Damian Lillard 7
||Free Throws Made
Will Barton 5
Al-Farouq Aminu 2
Gary Harris 2
Al-Farouq Aminu 1
Paul Millsap 2
Team Stats Summary
Denver will play their next game on the road against Minnesota. The Nuggets have a W/L % of .511 after a win and .639 after a loss.
Portland will play their next game at home against Utah. The Trail Blazers have a W/L % of .653 after a win and .500 after a loss.