In a lively and high scoring contest, Jusuf Nurkić gets the best of his former team, scoring a career high 33 points. CJ McCollum adds 39 points in a crucial 122-113 win over the Denver Nuggets. The Blazers take over sole possession of 8th place in the Western Conference standings. They also now have a de facto two-game lead over Denver due to ownership of the tiebreak.
The Blazers were led by Nurkić, with a career high 33 points and 16 rebounds and CJ McCollum had 39 points. The Nuggets were led by Jameer Nelson with 23 points.
Nurkić ended the night by stopping for a memorable post-game interview with Brooke Olzendam, where he wished the Denver Nuggets “a happy summer”.
As advertised, It was Nurkić and Nikola Jokic for the Blazers and Nuggets early, both clubs going to and through its big man. Jokic and the Nuggets bested the Blazers early, taking a three point lead into the second quarter, thanks in large part to the Nuggets shooting over 60 percent from the field.
Both teams took a soak in the Hot Tub Time Machine as the score and vibe of the game became more reminiscent of an 80s contest. Portland used a 10-0 run in just over a minute on an energetic Nuggets team to take a 56-52 lead. Nurkić had 21 points and CJ McCollum had 20 to lead the Blazers to a two point halftime lead.
Halftime: Portland 66, Denver 64
While Nurkić distanced himself from Jokic in the stat department, recording his career high 29th point in the third, the Blazers struggled to distance themselves from the Nuggets on the scoreboard. The Blazers took advantage of a cold shooting Denver team to eventually open a 10 point lead going into the final quarter.
CJ McCollum went nova in the fourth, netting his 35 point early in the quarter to give the Blazers an 11 point lead. The Blazers failed to hit a couple of dagger threes, allowing the Nuggets to inch back. Jameer Nelson answered every call for a big shot for the Nuggets. The Blazers have too much fire power from McCollum and Nurkić, along with some timely shots from Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Blazers hold on to win 122-113.
The Blazers have a day off before taking on James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Thursday night at the Moda Center for a TNT game. Tip off is at 7:30 pm. Stay tuned to Blazer's Edge tonight, for extended analysis of this game from Dave Deckard.