Trail Blazers beat Nuggets 119-108, force series to Game 7
PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard had 32 points, including 17 in the third quarter, and the Portland Trail Blazers staved off elimination to force a decisive Game 7 in their series with Denver with a 119-108 victory on Thursday night.
The Nuggets head home with a chance to make it to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2009. Denver has been to the conference finals three times in franchise history.
The winner of Sunday’s game will face the winner of the series between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets. The defending NBA champion Warriors have a 3-2 advantage in the series after a 104-99 victory on Wednesday night. Game 6 is set for Friday in Houston.
CJ McCollum added 30 points for the Blazers, who haven’t advanced to the conference finals since the 2000 playoffs. Rodney Hood came off the bench with a career playoff-high 25 points and fans at the Moda Center drowned out his postgame on-court interview by chanting “Rodney! Rodney!”
HILADELPHIA — Jimmy Butler lived up to his Jimmy Buckets nickname to help Philadelphia force a seventh game against Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Butler hit baskets in bunches and finished with 25 points. Joel Embiid, who had played through a bad left knee and a stomach bug for most of the playoffs, had 17 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes, while Ben Simmons added 21 points.
Kawhi Leonard, who scored 30-plus points in the first four games in the series, was tied up early by the Sixers and scored 29 points well after the game was out of hand.
Disaster struck the Warriors near the end of the third quarter Wednesday night.
Moments after Kevin Durant made a jumper to give the Warriors a three-point lead in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets, the Golden State superstar limped off the Oracle Arena court to the locker room after injuring his right leg.
The Warriors announced that Durant had suffered a right calf strain and would not return to the NBA playoff second-round series contest.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that it doesn’t appear to be an Achilles injury.
Yahoo’s Chris Haynes echoed Wojnarowski’s report during an in-game FOX Sports Radio interview, with the added tidbit that “the Warriors feel good about where things are,” with more tests coming Thursday.
After the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr assured reporters that it was not an Achilles tear. Durant will get an MRI exam Thursday and his travel status for Game 6 in Houston is to be determined.
The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami reported that it’s “incredibly unlikely” that KD will play in Game 6.
Durant finished the game with 22 points in 32 minutes. He shot 8 of 18 from the field, including 2 of 7 from 3-point range, and added five rebounds and four assists.