The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets put on an entertaining back-and-forth Game 6 that wasn’t quite as crazy as Game 5, but was still a memorable game.
Michael Porter Jr. went supernova in the first quarter, scoring 22 points of on 8 of 10 shooting while make 6 of 7 triples. He single-handedly kept the Nuggets in the Game as they finished down 33-29 against the Blazers.
MPJ’s scoring explosion was necessary in part because Nikola Jokic was forced to sit with two fouls with a lot of time left in the first quarter.
Damian Lillard, as usual, was unstoppable from the field in the first half as well, with 19 points and three triples including a sick one in the closing seconds of the second quarter that pushed their lead to 68-61. He got a lot of help from Norman Powell and CJ McCollum, who had 13 and 11 points. Anfernee Simons also hit all three of his triples for nine.
Porter Jr. did cool down in the second quarter as he only scored 4 points in that period, and no one else hit double figures for the Nuggets in the first half. Jokic came closest with 9 points.
The second half started strong for the Blazers as they built a double-digit lead early on and kept piling on the pain, looking like they were on the way to a blowout and a forced Game 7.
However, the Nuggets suddenly got themselves into a roll toward the end of the third quarter, and Jokic scored 20 points to suddenly cut the Portland lead to 101-98 entering the fourth period.
Jokic continued his hot shooting and hit a big three to give them a 108-106 lead halfway through the period. The Nuggets really flipped the script in the fourth quarter and actually pushed their lead to 119-108 with 3:20 left in the game.
The Blazers, as good as they played through the first two and a half quarters, ran out of steam especially in the fourth quarter and just couldn’t make the big shots. Lillard wasn’t great from the field compared to Game 5 and he finished shooting 8 of 20 and 3 of 11 from long range and finished with 28 points, 4 rebounds and 14 assists. CJ McCollum finished with 21 points but struggled with his shot again as he finished 9 of 21 from the field and 2 of 8 from three. You can’t say he didn’t get help this time, either, six total Blazers scored in double figures.
All credit has to go to the Nuggets, who didn’t wilt under adversity and continued to grind it out when things were rough. It’s not easy to come back from a 14-point second half deficit but they found a way to do it.
Jokic finished the game with 36 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, while Porter Jr. ended the game with 26 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Denver had a big contribution from their bench, too, as Monte Morris, like in Game 5, had another big game off the bench and finished with 22 points, 4 rebounds and 9 assists. JaMychal Green chipped in 10 points and 9 rebounds, and those boards really helped break Portland’s back.
The Nuggets will have a few days to rest, but for now Jokic will enjoy avenging his playoff loss to Lillard a couple of years back. He showed his props to his old foe, too, which was nice to see.