Murray scores 34 as Nuggets even series with Blazers

Jamal Murray scored 34 points and Nikola Jokic collected 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists as the visiting Denver Nuggets wrested back home court advantage with a 116-112 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

The Nuggets’ win squared the best-of-seven series at 2-2, with Game 5 on Tuesday in Denver.

Murray was 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, including six in the final 13.2 seconds to help the Nuggets stave off the Blazers.

The 7-foot Jokic registered his second straight triple-double and his fourth of the postseason. Denver also got 21 points and 10 rebounds from Paul Millsap.

CJ McCollum scored 29 points and Damian Lillard added 28 for the Blazers.

Seth Curry came off the bench for 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting � 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Curry had 14 of his points in the second quarter as the Blazers seized a 63-57 lead at halftime.

Four Blazers were in double figures by the break, including Al-Farouq Aminu (13), McCollum (12) and Lillard (10). Murray led Denver with 17 points.

The Nuggets went ahead 75-72 midway through the third quarter. Outscoring Portland 27-14 in the quarter, they carried an 84-77 advantage into the final period.

Denver led 87-77 before the Blazers went on an 8-0 tear to draw within 87-85. The Nuggets were in front 94-88 when Lillard sank a 3-pointer to cut it to 94-91 with 6:14 remaining. Denver stoked the difference to 99-93 with 5:16 left.

Lillard hit a pair of foul shots to close it to 99-98 with 3:26 to play.

Will Barton’s 3 gave Denver a 102-98 lead, but Lillard answered with a layup to make it 102-100. After Gary Harris and McCollum traded baskets, Barton buried another 3 for a 107-102 Denver lead with 1:38 to go.

Aminu scored on a floater to cut it to 107-104, but Harris converted a three-point play for a 110-104 Denver lead with 1:03 remaining.

Rodney Hood hit a corner 3 with 52.2 seconds to go to trim the difference to 110-107. Lillard split a pair at the line to make it 110-108 with 20.3 seconds left.

Two free throws by Murray increased the Nuggets’ edge to 112-108 with 13.2 seconds on the clock.

After Lillard scored on a layup with 7.7 seconds remaining, Murray hit a pair of free throws to make it 114-110 with 6.7 seconds to play.

McCollum scored on a long two-point shot to cut it to 114-112 with 4.4 seconds to go, but Murray clinched it with another pair at the line with 3.4 ticks left.

Source: Voice of Nigeria