Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined for 62 points and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Denver Nuggets 119-108 in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals to tie their series at 3-3 and force a Game 7.
The Blazers extended the series to its maximum of seven games. Game 7, originally scheduled for Saturday evening, will now take place on Sunday.
The Nuggets, propelled by a hot start in Game 6, nearly jumped out to a double-digit lead. The Blazers clamped down on defense in the second quarter and held the Nugs to only 20 points. The Blazers took a 4-point lead into halftime.
The Nuggets launched an all-out assault in the third quarter to regain momentum. Every time they got close to taking the lead, the Blazers swiftly countered. The Blazers also held off a fourth-quarter surge to secure an 11-point victory. The Blazers perimeter defense held the Nuggets to 12-for-32 from beyond the arc. The Nugs also shot 38.4 from the floor, but hit an astounding 30-for-32 from the charity stripe to keep them in the game.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 53 points in the loss for the Nugs. Jokic missed another triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists. Murray added 24 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Paul Millsap, who had a big night in Game 5, struggled to find his shot in Game 6. Millsap still contributed 17 points on a rough 4-for-15 shooting night.
Lillard and McCollum (and Hood) Show
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum is probably the best backcourt in the NBA. If you try to shut down one player, the other will burn you. On nights when one guy is off, the other is on fire. And when they’re both running hot, it’s not going to be a good night for opposing teams.
Lillard and McCollum both scored 30-plus points with Lillard dropping 32 and McCollum adding 30. They were 8-for-20 from three-point land and 23-for-47 overall from the floor. They went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
No other starter scored in double digits, but Zach Collins came off the bench to scored 14 points and Rodney Hood added 25 points, which marked a career high in the playoffs. Hood also played a postseason-high of 32 minutes, which also includes the crazy quadruple overtime in Game 3.
Hood has been invaluable during the playoffs as a key offensive weapon on the second team. Hood went 8-for-12 from the floor including 3-for-4 from downtown. Hood averaged only 11.2 points this season, but he scored 14-plus in five out of six games in the Nuggets series. Hood scored only 16 points during the opening-round series against Oklahoma City.
Playoff career-high 25 points for Hoodie 🎥 pic.twitter.com/TMgZDlp8ki
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 10, 2019
On Deck: Mile High Game 7
The Nuggets boasted the best home record in the NBA at 34-7. The high altitude in the Mile High City is always a factor for visiting teams.
The Nugs are 5-2 at home in the postseason this year, including 2-1 at in Denver during the series against Blazers.
The Nuggets went 3-1 in Denver during the opening-round series against the San Antonio Spurs. Coach Pops and the Spurs also pushed Denver to a full seven games in the first round. The Nuggets rallied from down 2-1 in that series to advance to the Semifinals against the Blazers.
“I thought our Game 6 here in Portland was better than our Game 6 in San Antonio,” said Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone. “Now we go home and have the best home-court advantage in the NBA.”
Malone and his team also found themselves down 2-1 in this Nuggets and Blazers series before rallying with two wins in a row to take a 3-2 lead.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Denver Nuggets are 30/1 odds to win the NBA championship. The Portland Trail Blazers are the biggest long shot on the board at 40/1 odds.
The Nuggets opened as a consensus 5-point favorite for Game 7 in Denver. The line moved a half-point to 5.5 points. The tip-off is still TBD and dependent if the Warriors and Rockets series goes to seven games without Kevin Durant in the lineup.