Nikola Jokic helps Denver Nuggets level series with Portland Trail Blazers

Nikola Jokic helps Denver Nuggets level series with Portland Trail Blazers

Nikola Jokic poured in 38 points as the Denver Nuggets earned a  128-109 over the Portland Trail Blazers to level their first-round play-off series at 1-1.

The Serbian centre, who also claimed eight rebounds and handed out five assists, had to go big to nullify the deep threat of Portland’s Damian Lillard, whose eight three-pointers by half-time tied the league play-off record.

The physical battle – Denver received three of the game’s four technical fouls, including one on Jokic – saw the Trail Blazers rally in the fourth quarter before succumbing to their Western Conference rivals, with Lillard’s 42-point haul proving in vain.

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a game-high 31 points as the Milwaukee Bucks easily accounted for the Miami Heat 132-98 and moved 2-0 up in their series.

Bryn Forbes (22 points) was lethal from beyond the arc as he contributed six three-pointers to Milwaukee’s total of 22  – their highest ever recorded in a play-off game.

Miami hustled in the second half but could not avoid the loss, which snapped a 19-game run of encounters where the Heat had scored at least 100 points.