Denver (USA), .- The escort C.J. McCollum, with 37 points, emerged with his best playoff game and guided the Portland Trail Blazers to a 96-100 home win over the Denver Nuggets in the seventh and final playoff game of the Western Conference semifinals. , who won by 4-3, and went to the finals for the first time since 2000.
His rivals will be the Golden State Warriors, current two-time NBA champions, who qualified on Friday by eliminating the Rockets 4-2 in the best-of-seven series.
The first game of the final series between the Warriors and Trail Blazers will begin next Tuesday at Oracle Arena in Oakland and the Golden State team will have the field advantage.
McCollum, who contributed 15 points in the first half when the Trail Blazers went into the break with the disadvantage of nine, played 45 minutes and scored 17 of 29 field goals, including a three-pointer and 2-2 from the line. staff, in addition to capturing nine rebounds.
Reserve guard-forward Evan Turner also had his best playoff game and scored 14 points, including 8 of 9 personnel shots, and grabbed seven rebounds.
While Trail Blazers leader Damian Lillard disappeared as an offensive option with only 13 points after missing 14 of 17 field goals, including 7 of 8 attempts from 3-pointers.
Lillard managed a double-double to capture 10 rebounds, distributed eight assists and recovered three balls, which helped the surprise victory of the Trail Blazers.
While the Swiss turf center Enes Kanter with a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds became the leader of the inner game of the Trail Blazers and completed the list of the four players of the Portland team that had double-digit numbers.
But it would be the defense and the good control of the ball the keys that abrieron the doors to the Trail Blazers that could surpass the lack of inspiration of Lillard and the injury in the third period of the escort Rodney Hood.
As a team the Trail Blazers achieved 41 (38-93) percent of hits in the field, 15 (4-26) of triples and 83 (20-24) of personnel, compared to 37 (33-89). ), 11 (2-19) and 72 (28-39)%, respectively, of the Nuggets, who also lost the duel under the hoops with 51 rebounds for 55 from Portland.
The Trail Blazers lost four balls to four of the Nuggets, who in the second half could never score the decisive goals in their favor, especially from the personnel line.
“When you have these percentages of shots to baskets the logic is that you lose the game, it is not that the rival wins you,” declared frustrated the trainer of the Nuggets, Michael Malone. “We have lost a great opportunity to reach the finals.”
The Serbian center Nikola Jokic, with a double-double of 29 points, 13 rebounds, two assists and four blocks was the leader of the Nuggets, but he did not have consistency and efficiency as the rest of the team and failed 15 of 26 field goals. , including four of six triple attempts.
While Canadian baseman Jamal Murray scored 17 points, but missed 14 of 18 field goals, including four attempts from outside the perimeter, and made up his contribution with the nine goals he made from the line of staff to hit all the free throws What did.
Murray captured six rebounds and distributed five assists, which in the end could not be a winning factor either.
As it happened with the 15 goals scored by guard Gary Harris, third highest scorer of the Nuggets, and power forward Paul Millsap came to 10 and captured seven rebounds, but they did not serve the team to avoid defeat.
Spanish power forward Juancho Hernangómez completed his third season in the NBA with the Nuggets and his first playoff experience without leaving the court by Malone’s decision.
The Nuggets had an advantage of up to 17 points in the first half, but in the second it disappeared its inspiration encestadora and the Trail Blazers with that of McCollum was all they needed.
Turner, the surprise factor winner of the match, captured a rebound when Jokic tried a desperate triple and the ball bounced on the rim to control the ball and keep it until the last seconds of the game ran out.
The Nuggets, the team that had had the best record in the league in their field during the regular season, lost the second in the series against the Trail Blazers to the frustration and disbelief of their fans who were slow to react until they realized they were eliminated. (EFE)