DENVER — Nikola Jokic scored 38 points to overcome a 3-point shooting barrage from Damian Lillard and the Denver Nuggets evened the first-round series by beating the Portland Trail Blazers 128-109 on Monday night in a chippy Game 2.
Jokic also had eight rebounds and five assists, which was four more than he had in Game 1 when the Blazers made sure the big man didn’t beat him with his pinpoint passing.
The Nuggets had few answers for Lillard early on as the dynamic playmaker scored 32 of his 42 points in the first half. His eight 3-pointers before intermission tied an NBA playoff record for most in a half. Lillard finished 9 of 16 from 3-point range.
Game 3 will be Thursday in Portland.
It was a physical affair, with four technical fouls being issued (three on Denver, including one on Jokic) and two flagrant-1 calls (CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony).
BUCKS 132, HEAT 98
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points and Bryn Forbes led Milwaukee’s scorching start from 3-point range as the Bucks trounced the Miami Heat to extend their lead in this first-round playoff series.
Milwaukee shot 22 of 53 from 3-point range – including 15 of 29 in the first half – and never trailed while leading by as many as 36 points. The Bucks’ 22 3-pointers were their highest total ever in a playoff game.
Forbes scored 22 points and went 6 of 9 on 3-point attempts.
The Bucks own a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series as they attempt to oust the team that beat them 4-1 in the second round last year. Game 3 takes place Thursday in Miami.
Milwaukee’s two victories in this season couldn’t have looked much more different.
The Bucks needed Khris Middleton’s tiebreaking jumper with 0.5 seconds left in overtime to pull out a 109-107 victory in Game 1, which neither team ever led by more than eight points. Milwaukee essentially put away Game 2 in the first quarter as its 3-point attack went from fizzling to sizzling.