Related Tags: Nikola Jokic
Jokic drops 37 points, outshines Lillard in Game 1
Despite the short break, the Nuggets came out looking like the fresher, hungrier team in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Trail Blazers. Denver center Nikola Jokic had his best playoff performance of his young career so far, scoring 37 points with nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks. Jokic has established himself as one of the NBA’s most dynamic players this season, and he’s continued to prove this in the postseason. Point guard Jamal Murray played very efficiently as well. Murray had 23 points and eight assists, and turned the ball over just once. The home win in Game 1 was huge for the Nuggets, who had just one rest day to prepare for their matchup against the Trail Blazers, compared to Portland’s six days of rest.
The Trail Blazers will regroup for Game 2 after a really good performance in a Game 1 loss. Damian Lillard continued his unreal playoff run, scoring 39 points on 57% shooting. It’s the fourth 30+ point game recorded by Lillard in the playoffs so far. Blazers big man Enes Kanter had his biggest postseason game so far. Kanter had 26 points and seven rebounds on Monday, missing just three shots (11-14). Overall, the Blazers played really well on paper. Portland hit a higher percentage of their shots (51.9% to 50.6%), and even outrebounded the Nuggets 40-34. The defense will have to improve for the Blazers to be a threat in this series. After such a solid offensive showing, the Blazers will have to try to keep Jokic, Muray, and other Nuggets in check.
Game 2 is set to be played in Denver on Wednesday, and looks like it will be a must-watch matchup.