Jokic's 37 points leads Nuggets past Portland 121-113

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Denver coach Michael Malone was more concerned about his team's emotional state than his players' physical state after a hard-fought series with San Antonio while the Blazers, making their sixth straight playoff appearance, were enjoying almost a week off. Popovich claims he's never heard of the one-time world chess champion, but he could be feigning ignorance.

Prior to the season, if you said that the Nuggets would be 1-0 up in the Western Conference Semifinals (and with homecourt advantage), you would've been laughed out of the room. 'Game 2 at home was a must-win; Game 4 on the road was a must-win, and obviously Game 7, we know what those are all about. The Trail Blazers, who are in the play-offs for the sixth straight season, had almost a week off after dispatching Oklahoma City in five games to advance for the first time in three years. "You either win or you go home". Paul Millsap is a name that we know for the recent past and is supplying this team with, evidently, enough experience to get by.

"I think it comes down to Nikola embracing the moment", Malone said.

The series comes down to a seventh game after moves and counters by both coaches. Jamal Murray is averaging 19.5 points and 4.6 assists per game, while Gary Harris is averaging 14.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

After taking almost a week off from scrimmaging and playing games, and with just one day to prepare for an entirely different style, the Blazers left the Pepsi Center in a daze.

Against the spread: The line is down a half-point to 3.5 for Wednesday's Game 3. They turned a close game into a rout with a 24-6 run from late in the third quarter into the middle of the fourth.

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Hopefully he gets the respect he does after these first two games . "Ok is not ok, so it's just trying to play our best". How can the Hurricanes expect to comeback against an elite Washington squad? The Lightning has a 73-60 playoff record.

"He always has a calm to him", DeRozan said of his coach after Thursday's win. "We'll watch film and then we'll be better come Wednesday". "Wasn't much needed to be said". His 3-point shooting wasn't quite as hot as it was in the previous series, but he attacked Denver's traps, often splitting the defenders, and drove hard to the rim.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic had an All-Star season, but Channing Frye still thinks the young big man is underappreciated.

Overs are 46-40-2 in Blazers games this season, which are averaging 225 total points.

Butler added 11 rebounds and handed out five assists for the Sixers, who led 51-38 at half-time despite 13 first-half turnovers. He's on track to have one of his down performances in Game 7.

Kanter - "He's tough as nails", Harkless said - had another strong night, standing tall against Jokic and scoring 15 points with nine rebounds. Being aggressive allows us to play so much more free. "We can do better on a lot of things". Tonight, we were physical and they let us play physical tonight.