PORTLAND – The Moda Center was rocking with the largest crowd in what seems like ages cheering on the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers came out roaring in the first quarter, the crowd euphoric as Dame hit an exclamation basket to lift the Blazers to a quick 18-9 lead.
Then the Nuggets hit a barrage of 3-pointers to take the lead. And then they hit some more as Blazers missed wide open shot after wide open shot.
The game was physical, but the story of the game was the Blazers unable to drop any long range baskets for long periods as the Nuggets made one after another. The Blazers settled for two point plays, but the lead added up by the 3rd quarter. The Nuggets did not make a single field goal during the final 7:58 of the 3rd quarter, yet they still led the game 84-79 heading into the 4th.
CJ McCollum dropped a 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds left in the 4th quarter to pull the Trail Blazers within 3 points – 118-115. Forced to foul on the inbound, the Nuggets went to the line for a one and one, missing the first.
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MVP candidate and Denver big man Nikola Jokic tipped in the missed second free throw to put the Nuggets up by 5 points and the put the game away.
Blazers will look to even series against the Nuggets Saturday in Game 4: Neither team managed to win their first home game of the 2021 Playoffs, with the Trail Blazers taking Game 1 and the Nuggets Game 3.
So in other words – it’s the Blazers’ turn.
“We gotta make sure we handle business,” Damian Lillard said following the game.
Listen to all the action on KORE 1050 AM and 95.7 FM thanks to your friends at Mid Valley Tractor! Trail Blazers Basketball is heard exclusively on Fox Sports Eugene!