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Recap: Portland flexes their way to 115-95 victory, Jokic and Porter Jr. struggle

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Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Portland Trail Blazers responded today with a 115-95 win over the Denver Nuggets today. Not only did they shoot better, but they were energized and outplayed Denver throughout the game.

It was an interesting game as the two superstars Jokic and Lillard both were not effective offensively. Lillard shot 1-10 for 10 points and Jokic shot 7-18 for 16 points. Portland once again won the paint battle excluding garbage time points. Nurkic was a huge factor for them as he outplayed Jokic tonight.

It’s difficult to perform any worse than they did today but look for a much better outing from Denver as they head home for Game 5.

1st Quarter

  • Portland continued their good play in the paint while Rivers maintained his good perimeter shooting
  • Denver defense was sluggish early. Blazers obtained very comfortable looks from anywhere on the floor
  • Jokic cold start. Began shooting 1-7 and ended the quarter 3-9
  • Monte Morris gave Denver some decent scoring off the bench
  • Ball movement increased late in the quarter for the Nuggets, but Denver lucky to only be down 8
  • Scoring Leaders: Powell-10, Jokic-7

Score: 32-24 Portland

2nd Quarter

  • Blazers played tight, physical on-ball defense
  • JaMychal Green brought much-needed energy and scoring early in 2nd
  • Nuggets bench closed the Portland lead to tie the game at 36-36
  • Damian Lillard 0-4 start, ended the half 1-6 with 9 points
  • Markus Howard had more shots than MPJ. Howard 6 shots, Porter 2.
  • Blazers acquired their biggest lead of the game at 12 with a minute left
  • Scoring leaders: Nurkic and Powell tied with 13, Jokic-11

Score: 57-47 Portland

3rd Quarter

  • Blazers converged nearly every time Denver got in the paint and the Nuggets seemed timid to get a shot up
  • Nuggets very flat out of the locker room. Blazers stretched their largest lead to 30
  • Starters brought zero energy in the 3rd
  • Nuggets not effective shooting from the perimeter and they still kept settling for outside looks
  • Nurkic outplayed Jokic for much of this game
  • Paul Millsap only Nugget to display aggressive energy
  • Scoring Leaders: Powell-23, McCollum-20

Score: 96-66 Portland

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

4th Quarter

  • Nuggets would be down 40 if it wasn't for Millsap
  • Normal Powell flexing his way to 29 points
  • Most bench players for both teams entered with 7:00 in the 4th
  • Denver didn’t totally quit in garbage time. JaVale McGee gave them some decent energy
  • Scoring leaders: Powell-29, McCollum-21

Score: 115-95 Portland

Tonights Takeaways

What is going on with Michael Porter Jr? I don't think it is completely his fault but there has to be a reason why they're not getting him the ball. Markus Howard had 4 more shot attempts than Porter in the first half, and it seems he struggles more and more each game. Portland is playing tight defense, reaching on him every possession and he hasn’t figured out a way to handle that yet. Denver’s bench and supporting cast will have to score more than usual because it does not look like Porter is comfortable in this series.

Points in the paint: Denver not only has the ability to dominate the paint every game but they should. If you take away Nurkic, Portland’s tallest starter is 6’7” Robert Covington. Denver has three guys taller and bigger than that yet Portland was the more physical team inside in Games 3 and 4. Jokic had a rare off game but guys like Gordon and Porter should take advantage of their smaller matchups inside. Nurkic has been an absolute force in the paint they will have to hold him at bay for Game 5.

Jokic struggled: It doesn't happen often but we saw a rare off night from Jokic today. He was missing bunnies in the paint, and he could not find his midrange stroke. It is possible to chalk it up to fatigue and an early start since Dame wasn’t effective either, but the Nuggets cannot afford another performance like this from Jokic. Denver has not found their second scorer so far in this series, so unfortunately they are counting on Jokic to score 30+ points every night.

Player of the Game: Norman Powell - 29 points on 11-15 shooting and 4-4 from three-point land