Coming off an emotional double overtime loss in Denver, the Blazers need to win tonight to keep their season alive.
10,000 fans cheered them on tonight for the most of this bizarre pandemic season in what could be the last Blazers game of the year.
Pre-game, Damian Lillard was given the 2020-2021 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award and which recognizes “the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.” After his 55 point performance in Game 5 including scoring 17 of the teams 19 points in both overtime periods, it seemed all the more fitting.
Congratulations, Dame. This award is very well deserved.
Michael Porter made news before the game by saying that he was going to get better shots and be more aggressive.
Which kind of shots tho? 😭😭 https://t.co/zD99M5raHw— Charlie (3-0-4) (@folkestad3) June 1, 2021
He wasn’t lying. On the first play of the game, he hit a 3. He would go on to hit his first 6 of the game. Not just first 6 shots, his first 6 three pointers en route to 22(!) first quarter points.
Not to be outdone, Damian Lillard didn’t miss his first shot until the 3:45 mark of the first and started 4-4. He finished the quarter with 12 points.
Despite Porter’s first quarter explosion, the Blazers led for the majority of the quarter and actually shot better as a team from the 3 point line in the quarter at 6-9 (.667) to the Nuggets 6-12 (.500).
Jokic picked up two quick fouls in the first 7 minutes including a sneaky attempt to wrap his arms under Nurkic to draw a foul on Nurk and get him out of the game. He got those types of calls in Denver, but not tonight on the road.
CJ continued to struggle from 3 but was very aggressive getting to the basket and finished the quarter 2-5 FG after hitting his first 2 shots.
Jokic gets an offensive foul at 9:24 trying to sneak a foul on Nurk build grabbing his arms and pulling through. He got the opposite call in Denver. He picks up his second foul at the 5:22 mark and Michael Malone immediately took him out.
Michael Porter continued to score at will to keep them afloat. The Blazers end the quarter with only a 4 point lead despite shooting over 65% from 3 in the quarter.
Heavy minutes for the starters of both teams in the first quarter. You wouldn’t expect anything less in an elimination game.
Jokic had 0 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds. That’s seems like a win for Denver to only be down by 4.
The 2nd unit came in and held things down for the Blazers including a great back door play for a CJ two handed dunk. Good pass from Melo.
Get bouncy then, Christian! pic.twitter.com/a9bycR5UvX— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) June 4, 2021
Jokic and Nurk continued to have their minutes matched by each coach and came back in together at the 10:30 mark. 2 fouls on Jokic. None on Nurk. That’s unusual this series as Nurk has seemed to constantly be in foul trouble.
Immediate whistle, but on Monte Morris.
Clear foul on Jokic that isn’t called. Tried to steal it from Nurk and got a lot of arm.
Melo with back to back buckets.
Jokic’s first points at the 9 minute mark of the 2nd quarter. Weird.
Facundo Campazzo somehow got a definitive block on CJ. That may have been his first block in the NBA.
Get that outta here pic.twitter.com/jdAJNtf8ZC— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 4, 2021
(Editor’s note: According to Basketball Reference, Facundo Campazzo somehow was credited with 14 blocks this season. He also had a famous block on Kobe Bryant in the Olympics)
CJ continues to struggle from the 3 point line and finishes the have 2-8 from 3, but with 11 points after continuing to stay aggressive and attack the basket.
The good news is the rest of the team is on fire from 3.
Anfernee Simons had 3 including back to back bombs toward the end of the half.
The last minute of the half was very representative with no missed shots, a Porter dunk, Lillard layin, Jokic 3 pointer and tough step back 3 for Dame to finish the half.
This is fun.
MPJ led the Nuggets with 26 on 10-14 FG, 6-9 from 3pt. Wow.
Dame quietly has 19 on 7-11 fg and 3-5 from 3pt with 7 assists. Maybe we just expect that from him at this point.
8 man rotation for Blazers. Heavy minutes for all 5 starters each over 18 minutes played in the half.
Nuggets going 10 deep, but all 5 starters played more than 17 minutes.
The Blazers start the 2nd half quickly on a 5 point run to stretch the lead to 12.
Jokic seemed to know that he needed to pick things up for his team and started with back to back easy buckets in the lane. You don’t want him to get going.
Denver won’t go away though. Jokic won’t let them with 11 points in the first 6 minutes including a beautiful Tim Duncan style back shot to answer.
Campazzo and Powell both sit with 4 fouls at the 7:15 mark.
Jokic is putting the Nuggets in his back in the 3rd. 11 points in the first 6 minutes.
Back to back 3s for Lord Covington quell the rally temporarily.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) June 4, 2021
I can’t believe there are still nets on these hoops because everyone is on fire!
4th foul on Nurkic at the 2 minute mark in the 3rd. All four happened in the 3rd quarter. Clearly a charge. Smh.
20 points in the third quarter like it’s nothin pic.twitter.com/ihbWjnFp0y— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 4, 2021
5th foul on Campazzo at the 1 minute mark in the 3rd.
Monte Morris hits a running 3 pointer at the buzzer to end the quarter and this does not bode well.
Paul Millsap floater to start the quarter. Nuggets only down 1. Shot clock violation on first possession for the Blazers. Uh-oh. Not a good start.
Nuggets take the lead on a Monte Morris pull-up. 102-101 at 10:03.
Back to back vintage pull-up midrange jumpers for Melo. Fouled on the second by MPJ for the and-one. Vintage.
MPJ is falling back to earth after missing 2 straight 3s and a turnover.
A Monte Morris 3 cuts the lead to one at 7:06 and Jokic, Nurk and Norman Powell are coming back in for the closing stretch.
Jokic hits a Dame distance 3 to take the lead. That’s not fair.
I mean… come on pic.twitter.com/9Z9jnhicdk— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 4, 2021
Nurk gets a bucket off a pretty assist from Lillard.
Jokic misses a contested lay-in and the rebound is pushed out of bounds by JaMychal Green.
Refs call it off the Blazers and Stotts uses his challenge.
Call stands. Unbelievable.
Really bad time for a turnover by Nurk.
Dubious foul call on Norman Powell underneath His 5th. Green hits both.
5th foul on Nurk at 4:01. Smh. This isn’t looking good.
Austin Rivers follows that with a 3 to stretch it to a 9 point lead after a 22-7 run. Two straight Blazers’ turnovers and then Jokic hits a spinning 5 footer to stretch the lead to 11.
Lillard hits a layup. Next time down, he’s fouled on a 3. Hits all three. Does he still have some magic left?
119-113 with 2:30 to go.
Jokic finished the pick and roll in traffic for a 121-113 lead with 1:24 to go.
After a CJ McCollum layup, Jokic misses and the Nuggets get the offensive rebound. It leads to a Aaron Gordon corner 3.
this is the ONLY way the Blazers season could end. yall have heard me ranting endlessly about Portland’s inability to close out defensive possessions without Nurkic securing the rebound. well, Nurk on bench for most important stop of the season (?), and this is what happens 🙁 pic.twitter.com/QVoFi28Qm2— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) June 4, 2021
Dame misses a pull-up 3. 1-6 in the 4th and 1-9 in the 2nd half. He wasn’t the same after falling hard and hitting his head. He also played 43 minutes tonight.
Carmelo and Dame exit at the 30 second mark.
Is that the last time we see Carmelo in the NBA?
Another missed 3. Nuggets rebound.
Great win for the Nuggets to close things out on the road. Too much Jokic in the second half. He played like he was the MVP of the league.
Blazers looked tired in the 4th and just ran out of gas. Despite setting an NBA record for most 3 pointers made in a playoff series with 35 and averaging 34.3 PPG Damian Lillard couldn’t summon the late game magic again.
Going into the offseason, this team has a lot of questions to answer.
Do you trade Nurk?
Does Stotts get another season?
It’ll be interesting to see what Jody Allen, Neil Olshey and company come up with.
A first round exit is not what this team wanted at the beginning of this season, but it’s now happened 4 of the last 5 years. . . .
Nevertheless, a big thank you to all the players and coaches for performing each and every night during a global pandemic. It was fun to watch and we appreciate you, no matter what happens.