Norman Powell and Jusuf Nurkic dismantled passive Denver Nuggets and tied the series 2–2
Norman Powell matched his career playoff-high with 29 points, CJ McCollum added 21 points and Jusuf Nurkic was superb on both sides finishing with 17 points and six rebounds as the Blazers tied the series 2–2 with a 115–95 win at home.
“I love these types of games, these kinds of moments. It’s the moment where nothing else matters,” Powell said. “You get caught up in the course of the season with stats sometimes, this-that-and-the-other, road trips, but when you get into the playoffs, the only thing that matters is winning.”
Jusuf Nurkic, after having a great performance showcasing his qualities, admitted that he is not pleased that allegedly ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins said he wasn’t a good defender. Nurkic said that Perkins in today’s NBA would be a “mascot.” However, Nurkic said he didn’t hear Perkins say it. Nurkic also said he likes Perkins as a person.
Carmelo Anthony had 12 points — on his 37th birthday — to lead the bench.
Nikola Jokic finished with 16 points and nine rebounds for Denver before sitting out the final quarter.
“If you would have told me going in that game that Lillard’s going to be 1 for 10 from the field and we’re going to get blown out, I would’ve probably had a hard time believing that,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “So, I have to be a lot better and the urgency has to be there. Maybe this could be a wake-up call for our starting group, just to play harder. Good things happen when you play hard, and we didn’t play anywhere close to hard enough tonight.”
It’s not unusual for Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone to speak spontaneously: “Our starters were awful,” he said. “I thought we had some guys that were tentative, that looked a little scared, who played soft … we’re going to have to be a lot better going home.”
Nuggets coach was also asked if they executed at least a positive defensive game plan against Lillard, but Malone didn’t want to acknowledge it. “There are no silver linings when you get your ass kicked in a playoff game,” he said. “I can’t believe we’re actually talking about playing hard in a playoff game. That should be a given.”