The Portland Trail Blazers made a game of it, but ultimately fell just short on Sunday night—falling 1116-112 to the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of their Western Conference Semifinals match-up. The series is now tied 2-2. Jamal Murray led all scorers with 34 points, while CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 29 of his own in another terrific individual performance.
Here are a few key takeaways from tonight’s game:
- Close but no cigar. Damian Lillard, who struggled for much of the night, led an impressive comeback effort in the fourth quarter—but missed a costly free-throw late that came back to bite the Blazers. Denver’s Will Barton knocked down a pair of crucial three-pointers in the final minutes to stem the tide, and Murray sealed the game at the free-throw line.
- Disastrous third quarter. After taking a six-point lead into the second half, the Blazers were outscored 27-14 in the pivotal third quarter. In addition to going ice-cold from the field, they were on the wrong end of several questionable calls, and both Maurice Harkless and Enes Kanter picked up their fourth foul in the period.
- Curry catches fire. Seth Curry went off for 14 points in the second quarter, knocking down four big three-pointers in the frame, including a buzzer-beater to end the first half. He scored a combined 12 points in the first three games of the series. His emergence is a welcome sign for the Blazers going forward.
The series shifts back to Denver for Game 5 on Tuesday night.