The Denver Nuggets grabbed the crucial first game of their series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night with a 121-113 win on their home court.
Despite going to seven games in their first series against the San Antonio Spurs and playing on less rest than the Blazers, the Nuggets didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects in the series opener at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
It wasn’t easy for the Nuggets, who had to withstand yet another scoring barrage from Damian Lillard. Portland’s point guard had another phenomenal game, scoring 39 points on only 21 attempts from the field.
The Nuggets’ answer to Lillard was center Nikola Jokic, who controlled the paint all night. The 23-year-old scored 37 points and gathered 9 rebounds in a dominant performance that led his team to the win.
Denver also got strong performances out of point guard Jamal Murray, who chipped in 23 points and 8 assists, and power forward Paul Millsap, who scored 19 points of his own.
The second game of the series will take place in Denver on Wednesday night.