Denver (USA), .- Nothing stops Serbian center Nikola Jokic who contributed a double-double of 25 points with 19 rebounds and along with power forward Paul Millsap, who He put the experience, led the Denver Nuggets to a comfortable win by beating 124-98 against the Portland Trail Blazers in the fifth game of the Western Conference tie.
The Nuggets with the win are placed 3-2 up in the series that play the best of seven and the sixth game will be played next Thursday at the Fashion Center in Portland, where the Trail Blazers are only worth the victory if they want to continue in the competition.
Jokic was a nightmare for the Trail Blazers in the indoor game to tie the best with the 19 rebounds the best record in team history in a playoff game.
The European center also distributed six assists before it was eliminated by six personnel.
“We knew the importance of the game and we made the best team game so far in the tie,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone at the end of the game.
So it was good for the team that even gave it two minutes to Spanish power forward Juancho Hernangómez, who made his debut in the tie.
But before the reserves of the Nuggets came out, the Denver team had Millsap as the winning factor of the game to get another double-double of 24 points, including 19 in the first half, when the game was already sentenced in favor of the team of Denver.
His contribution was recognized by Malone, who admitted that Millsap is the player who knows when he has to make an appearance and show his experience and leadership in the field.
“He is a veteran of 13 seasons, with many games played and he always hopes to emerge when the team needs him the most,” said Malone. “The best thing we can always say about Paul Millsap is that he is a true professional and true to himself who does not try to pretend anything that he can not demonstrate in the field, besides showing himself always in control”.
That calm of Millsap was what allowed the Nuggets to convince themselves that they were much better team than the Trail Blazers, when they are focused and play the whole basketball.
That was what happened in the fifth game, in which all facets of the game of the Nuggets worked with the Canadian base Jamal Murray doing another great work of group that allowed him to also contribute 18 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
The combination of the Jokic ruling class, the experience and calm of Millsap along with the talent and youth of the rest of the staff that the Nuggets possess, allowed the Denver team to always be in absolute control of the game and the score.
The Nuggets in the first quarter already had six points of advantage, that increased to 18 in the rest and they arrived with 28 to the fourth period, that in some moment of the second part the advantage reached the 31 so many.
The guard-forward Gary Harris contributed another 16 points, while reserves Malik Beasley and Will Barton scored another 10 points each to complete the list of the six players of the Denver Nuggets who had double-digit numbers.
Hernangómez in the two minutes that saw action fulfilled with three points when making two shots to basket, both from outside the perimeter, and scored one, without it had more statistical activity.
With so much superiority of the Nuggets, the Trail Blazers lacked the inspiration encestadora of their key players in the attack as they are the base Damian Lillard and especially of the escort CJ McCollum, and there they finished the few options that the Portland team had to fight for the triumph.
Lillard finished with 22 points, but once again had problems with his shots from outside the perimeter when scoring just 2 of 9 attempts, he captured six rebounds and delivered four assists.
Worse was guard CJ McCollum, who arrived at the Pepsi Center in Denver without any inspirations, and finished the game with just 12 points after failing 11 of 15 field goals, including three of five from outside the perimeter.
While the Swiss Turkish pivot Enes Kanter, immersed in full celebration of Ramadan, could not be a winning factor, despite the advice given by the Nigerian American expirer Hakeem Olajuwon of how he should take physical care to save energy while fulfilling his religious belief and the help that is imposed on him.
Kanter finished with seven points, eight rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes that saw action.
The reserves, power forward Zach Collins and shooting guard Rodney Hood contributed another 14 points each to complete the list of the four Trail Blazers players who had double-digit numbers.
While as a team they finished with 37 (36-98) percent of hits in field goals and 27 (10-37) of triples, in addition to capturing 44 rebounds, by 52 of the Nuggets.
“With these statistics there is no doubt that our team was never in the position to fight for victory,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “We must turn the page and focus on the game on Thursday, which is decisive for us and I am convinced that things will be very different from what happened tonight.”