PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — 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!”
Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 29 points and 12 rebounds, while Jamal Murray added 24 points and 10 rebounds.
HILADELPHIA (AP) — Jimmy Butler lived up to his Jimmy Buckets nickname to help Philadelphia force a seventh game against Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Game 7 is Sunday night in Toronto. The Milwaukee Bucks await the winner.
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.