RECAP: Nikola Jokic hits for 41 as Denver Nuggets hold off Trail Blazers

Feb 23, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) and forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) defend on Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris (11). in the second quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic scored 41 points, Jamal Murray had 19 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 111-106 on Tuesday night.

Michael Porter Jr. had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Zeke Nnaji scored 10 for Denver.

Damian Lillard had 25 points and 13 assists, Enes Kanter finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and Gary Trent Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. scored 18 each for the Trail Blazers.

Portland led most of the third quarter but Jokic did his best to keep the Nuggets close. Down six, he hit a jumper and a 3-pointer, and after Jones completed a three-point play, Monte Morris tied it with another 3-pointer.

Lillard’s 27-footer put the Blazers ahead 78-73 but Jokic hit a short jumper in the lane and Nnaji drained a corner 3-pointer to tie it heading into the fourth.

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Murray, who seemed bothered by a sore shoulder in the second half, missed seven of his eight shots through the first 36 minutes but started to find his stroke in the fourth. His 3-pointer from the wing tied it at 83 and he hit another from just inside the line to give Denver an 87-85 lead, its first since late in the first half.

Lillard and Murray began trading points. Murray hit two more 3-pointers and Lillard had a dunk, a 3-pointer and two free throws as the Nuggets grabbed a 95-92 lead with 4:42 left. After Anthony missed at the other end, Jokic found a cutting Murray for a layup and a five-point lead.

Lillard missed a 29-footer and then Jokic found Murray again for a twisting jumper in the lane and a 99-92 lead, and the Nuggets closed it out.

Anthony led Portland in the second quarter. He hit two free throws, two mid-range jumpers and, after a 3-pointer by Jones, drained two more jumpers. He capped his 16-point quarter with a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left in the half, and the teams went into the intermission tied at 57.

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–Field Level Media