POR
DEN

No Text

Nuggets clinch Northwest with 119-110 win over Trail Blazers

DENVER (AP) Michael Malone stopped when he saw Tim Connelly standing nearby and gave his boss a bear hug. Connelly returned the hug and congratulated his head coach.

''That was awesome,'' the Nuggets' president of basketball operations said.

After four years of building the team, Malone and Connelly could finally celebrate a division title for the Nuggets.

Nikola Jokic scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Paul Millsap finished with 25 points, and Denver clinched the Northwest Division title with a 119-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Jokic added 13 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Nuggets to their first division title in six years. Jamal Murray scored 23 points and Torrey Craig had 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Denver.

''That is a great achievement for us,'' Malone said of clinching the division. ''More important, we're not satisfied. We've got three more games to go and the playoffs.''

The Nuggets are assured of at least the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and can clinch the second seed with two more wins. They lead Houston by 1 1/2 games and have played one fewer game than the Rockets.

Denver clinched its first Northwest Division title since 2012-13, when it won 40 of its final 50 games to finish 57-25. The Nuggets were upset by Golden State in the first round and parted ways with coach George Karl.

Denver missed out on the playoffs by a game the last two seasons and now have a chance to secure the No. 2 seed for the first time since 2008-09. The Nuggets would need to win their last three games and have Golden State lose its final three to be the No. 1 seed.

The players and coaches weren't worried about catching the Warriors. They were enjoying the win and the climb from playoff purgatory to a budding title contender.

''We know what we're capable of,'' Murray said. ''We have a lot of learning to do, but we're on a great path. It's the first time in the playoffs, but we've got a lot more of these coming.''

The Trail Blazers lost to Denver for the third time after faltering in the fourth quarter. Portland scored 37 points in the third, but managed just 23 in the fourth.

Enes Kanter had 24 points and Rodney Hood 17 for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 14 points after halftime.

''The first three quarters, we played pretty good. The last quarter, they got it going a little bit,'' Kanter said. ''We just need to learn to finish that fourth quarter.

''I believe in this team. I think this team is a championship team. ... I think this team has enough talent to beat any team on any floor. We just need to stay together and go from here.''

Portland led by three entering the fourth quarter, but Jokic set the tone in the fourth with seven quick points and fed Craig for a layup during an 18-6 run that gave Denver the lead for good. The Trail Blazers got within three on Kanter's short jumper, but Murray hit a runner and Craig scored off of an offensive rebound to make it 114-107 with 1:12 left.

''It was time for our best player to carry us,'' Malone said. ''Nikola is a big-game player and when we needed him most he came through.''

TIP-INS

Trail Blazers: G Seth Curry was ruled out before the game with left leg soreness. ... Portland is 8-2 without CJ McCollum and 4-2 without Jusuf Nurkic. ... Jake Layman's three 3-pointers were two short of his career best. ... Lillard's first points came on a layup with 0.8 seconds left in the first half.

Nuggets: The 33 home wins are the most since 2012-13 when they set a franchise record with 38. ... Jokic now has 55 double-doubles this season. He has 12 triple-doubles, second to Russell Westbrook with 31.

NOT SO FAST

Craig's teammates were quick to praise him after his performance, but when Murray was asked how tough Craig was to play against in practice, he couldn't resist getting a jab in.

''He don't guard me,'' Murray said. ''He can't guard me.''

HEAVEN HELP US

Denver was 2 of 10 from long range in the first half and finished the game hitting 25.9 percent from 3-point range.

''We just can't make shots right now,'' Jokic said. ''Twenty percent. We need help, maybe God. At least 30 percent.''

UP NEXT

The teams meet again in Portland on Sunday night.

---

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:36 +2 Nikola Jokic made jump shot, assist by Will Barton 0-2
11:14 +2 Enes Kanter made reverse layup, assist by Maurice Harkless 2-2
10:59   Nikola Jokic missed hook shot  
10:56   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
10:48   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
10:48 +1 Al-Farouq Aminu made 1st of 2 free throws 3-2
10:48 +1 Al-Farouq Aminu made 2nd of 2 free throws 4-2
10:17   Lost ball turnover on Enes Kanter, stolen by Gary Harris  
10:08   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
9:54 +2 Enes Kanter made layup, assist by Damian Lillard 6-2
9:37 +2 Paul Millsap made layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 6-4
9:15 +3 Al-Farouq Aminu made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Maurice Harkless 9-4
8:55 +2 Nikola Jokic made driving layup, assist by Jamal Murray 9-6
8:33 +2 Rodney Hood made floating jump shot, assist by Al-Farouq Aminu 11-6
8:20 +2 Jamal Murray made floating jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 11-8
8:06   Damian Lillard missed floating jump shot  
8:04   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
7:43 +3 Maurice Harkless made 3-pt. jump shot 14-8
7:21   Will Barton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:19   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
7:04   Damian Lillard missed driving layup  
7:07   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
7:06   Enes Kanter missed dunk  
7:05   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
7:04   Enes Kanter missed dunk  
6:50   Nikola Jokic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:48   Defensive rebound by Maurice Harkless  
6:35 +2 Enes Kanter made hook shot 16-8
6:23   Gary Harris missed floating jump shot  
6:19   Defensive rebound by Damian Lillard  
6:09 +2 Maurice Harkless made layup, assist by Al-Farouq Aminu 18-8
5:57 +2 Will Barton made floating jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 18-10
5:57   Shooting foul on Maurice Harkless  
5:57   Will Barton missed free throw  
5:55   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
5:32   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
5:13   Gary Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:09   Defensive rebound by Damian Lillard  
4:54   Al-Farouq Aminu missed hook shot  
4:48 +2 Will Barton made layup 18-12
4:27   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:23   Offensive rebound by Maurice Harkless  
4:20   Bad pass turnover on Maurice Harkless, stolen by Monte Morris  
3:45 +2 Enes Kanter made reverse layup 20-12
3:29 +2 Monte Morris made layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 20-14
3:06   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
3:05   Offensive foul on Gary Harris  
2:30   POR team rebound  
2:11 +2 Rodney Hood made jump shot 24-14
1:48   Personal foul on Zach Collins  
1:41   Offensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
1:40   Shooting foul on Evan Turner  
1:40 +1 Torrey Craig made 1st of 2 free throws 24-15
1:40 +1 Torrey Craig made 2nd of 2 free throws 24-16
1:29 +2 Rodney Hood made jump shot 26-16
1:14 +2 Paul Millsap made driving layup, assist by Monte Morris 26-18
0:57 +3 Jake Layman made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Evan Turner 29-18
0:39 +2 Mason Plumlee made reverse layup, assist by Monte Morris 29-20
0:31   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
0:25 +2 Paul Millsap made floating jump shot, assist by Mason Plumlee 29-22
0:14   Personal foul on Monte Morris  
0:00   Anfernee Simons missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   POR team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:39   Traveling violation turnover on Zach Collins  
11:26 +2 Jamal Murray made alley-oop shot, assist by Mason Plumlee 29-24
10:57   Shooting foul on Meyers Leonard  
10:57 +1 Paul Millsap made 2nd of 3 free throws 29-26
10:57 +1 Paul Millsap made 3rd of 3 free throws 29-27
10:48 +2 Jake Layman made dunk, assist by Evan Turner 31-27
10:35   Shooting foul on Meyers Leonard  
10:35 +1 Paul Millsap made 1st of 2 free throws 31-28
10:24   Bad pass turnover on Evan Turner, stolen by Paul Millsap  
10:21   Offensive foul on Mason Plumlee  
10:21   Turnover on Mason Plumlee  
10:00   DEN team rebound  
9:46   Malik Beasley missed jump shot  
9:41   Defensive rebound by Jake Layman  
9:37   Anfernee Simons missed jump shot  
9:35   Offensive rebound by Zach Collins  
9:26 +3 Malik Beasley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 31-31
9:12   Turnover on Anfernee Simons  
9:03   Offensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
9:00 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Torrey Craig 31-34
8:33   Jamal Murray missed floating jump shot  
8:20 +2 Paul Millsap made jump shot 33-36
7:35   Malik Beasley missed floating jump shot  
7:32   Defensive rebound by Zach Collins  
7:29   Lost ball turnover on Evan Turner, stolen by Malik Beasley  
7:28   Personal foul on Evan Turner  
7:18 +2 Paul Millsap made hook shot 36-38
6:42 +1 Paul Millsap made 1st of 2 free throws 39-39
6:42 +1 Paul Millsap made 2nd of 2 free throws 39-40
6:36   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
6:36   Evan Turner missed 1st of 2 free throws  
6:36   Evan Turner missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
6:34   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
6:01   Defensive rebound by Jake Layman  
5:45 +3 Jake Layman made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Enes Kanter 42-40
5:35   Personal foul on Jake Layman  
5:35 +1 Gary Harris made 1st of 2 free throws 42-41
5:35 +1 Gary Harris made 2nd of 2 free throws 42-42
5:21 +2 Maurice Harkless made driving dunk, assist by Enes Kanter 44-42
5:00   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
4:53   Lost ball turnover on Enes Kanter, stolen by Nikola Jokic  
4:32   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:29   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
4:22   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:22   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
4:01   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
3:58   Shooting foul on Maurice Harkless  
3:58 +1 Mason Plumlee made 1st of 2 free throws 44-45
3:45   Jake Layman missed alley-oop shot  
3:45   Offensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
3:42   Al-Farouq Aminu missed dunk  
3:40   Maurice Harkless missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:38   DEN team rebound  
3:27 +2 Nikola Jokic made layup, assist by Jamal Murray 44-48
3:07   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:03   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
2:51   Lost ball turnover on Paul Millsap, stolen by Al-Farouq Aminu  
2:44 +2 Al-Farouq Aminu made finger-roll layup, assist by Jake Layman 46-48
2:24 +2 Gary Harris made finger-roll layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 46-50
2:08   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
2:03   Bad pass turnover on Nikola Jokic, stolen by Jake Layman  
1:54 +2 Enes Kanter made reverse layup, assist by Damian Lillard 48-50
1:39 +2 Nikola Jokic made jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 48-52
1:15   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
1:09   Personal foul on Jake Layman  
1:09 +1 Gary Harris made 1st of 2 free throws 48-53
1:09 +1 Gary Harris made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-54
1:00   Bad pass turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Jamal Murray  
0:53   Offensive foul on Paul Millsap  
0:53   Turnover on Paul Millsap  
0:29 +2 Damian Lillard made turnaround jump shot, assist by Al-Farouq Aminu 50-54
0:18 +1 Jamal Murray made 2nd of 2 free throws 48-56
0:00 +2 Damian Lillard made finger-roll layup 52-56

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:47 +2 Damian Lillard made finger-roll layup 52-56
11:34   Gary Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:23   Maurice Harkless missed layup, blocked by Will Barton  
11:16   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:13   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
11:10 +2 Jamal Murray made dunk, assist by Paul Millsap 52-58
10:51 +2 Enes Kanter made dunk 54-58
10:35 +2 Nikola Jokic made finger-roll layup 54-60
10:19   Out of bounds turnover on Al-Farouq Aminu  
10:09   Shooting foul on Damian Lillard  
10:09 +1 Jamal Murray made 1st of 2 free throws 54-61
9:56   Shooting foul on Nikola Jokic  
9:56 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 55-62
9:56 +1 Damian Lillard made 2nd of 2 free throws 56-62
9:25   Bad pass turnover on Will Barton, stolen by Rodney Hood  
9:20 +2 Damian Lillard made dunk, assist by Enes Kanter 58-62
9:09   Shooting foul on Damian Lillard  
8:53   Personal foul on Nikola Jokic  
8:47 +2 Maurice Harkless made layup, assist by Al-Farouq Aminu 60-66
8:33 +3 Paul Millsap made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 60-69
8:12   Shooting foul on Nikola Jokic  
8:12 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 61-69
8:12 +1 Damian Lillard made 2nd of 2 free throws 62-69
8:01   Personal foul on Enes Kanter  
7:43 +2 Paul Millsap made jump shot 62-71
7:23 +2 Enes Kanter made dunk 64-71
7:01   Personal foul on Paul Millsap  
6:39   Bad pass turnover on Paul Millsap, stolen by Rodney Hood  
6:33   Offensive foul on Rodney Hood  
6:16 +2 Paul Millsap made turnaround jump shot 64-73
6:01   Rodney Hood missed turnaround jump shot  
6:01   POR team rebound  
5:54 +2 Enes Kanter made reverse layup 66-73
5:33   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
5:26   Shooting foul on Mason Plumlee  
5:26 +1 Al-Farouq Aminu made 1st of 2 free throws 67-73
5:26 +1 Al-Farouq Aminu made 2nd of 2 free throws 68-73
4:55 +2 Rodney Hood made jump shot, assist by Evan Turner 70-73
4:36 +2 Paul Millsap made driving dunk, assist by Jamal Murray 70-75
4:15 +2 Evan Turner made finger-roll layup, assist by Damian Lillard 72-75
4:15   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
4:15 +1 Evan Turner made free throw 73-75
4:05   POR team rebound  
3:43   POR team rebound  
3:43 +1 Zach Collins made 1st of 2 free throws 74-75
3:40   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
3:27   Enes Kanter missed finger-roll layup, blocked by Nikola Jokic  
3:04 +1 Evan Turner made 1st of 2 free throws 75-75
2:27 +3 Torrey Craig made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 78-78
1:34   Torrey Craig missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:32   DEN team rebound  
1:12   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
1:11   Shooting foul on Jake Layman  
0:52 +2 Torrey Craig made alley-oop shot, assist by Malik Beasley 81-82
0:33 +3 Evan Turner made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 84-82
0:30 +2 Jamal Murray made floating jump shot 84-84
0:03   Damian Lillard missed finger-roll layup  
0:02 +2 Enes Kanter made dunk 87-84
0:03   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
0:00   Mason Plumlee missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   DEN team rebound  

4th Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:45 +2 Nikola Jokic made turnaround jump shot 87-86
11:22 +2 Enes Kanter made layup, assist by Rodney Hood 89-86
10:45 +2 Evan Turner made jump shot, assist by Enes Kanter 91-89
10:34   Shooting foul on Enes Kanter  
10:34 +1 Nikola Jokic made 1st of 2 free throws 91-90
10:13   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
10:09 +2 Monte Morris made jump shot, assist by Mason Plumlee 91-93
9:54   Rodney Hood missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:25   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:13   DEN team rebound  
8:54   Shooting foul on Rodney Hood  
8:54   Nikola Jokic missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
8:05   Enes Kanter missed reverse layup, blocked by Mason Plumlee  
8:04   POR team rebound  
8:01   Personal foul on Rodney Hood  
7:46 +2 Torrey Craig made layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 91-100
7:28 +2 Rodney Hood made floating jump shot 93-100
7:14 +2 Monte Morris made jump shot 93-102
6:50 +3 Al-Farouq Aminu made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 96-102
6:05   Shooting foul on Mason Plumlee  
6:05 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 97-104
5:44   Monte Morris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:44   Offensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
5:36 +2 Monte Morris made finger-roll layup, assist by Paul Millsap 98-106
5:21   Rodney Hood missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:18   Defensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
5:04   Lost ball turnover on Paul Millsap, stolen by Rodney Hood  
4:32 +2 Malik Beasley made finger-roll layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 100-108
4:11   Offensive rebound by Maurice Harkless  
4:07   Damian Lillard missed layup  
4:05   Lost ball turnover on Nikola Jokic, stolen by Al-Farouq Aminu  
4:02   Personal foul on Paul Millsap  
3:31   Gary Harris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:20 +2 Enes Kanter made finger-roll layup, assist by Damian Lillard 105-108
2:55   Paul Millsap missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:52 +2 Torrey Craig made dunk 105-110
2:41   Personal foul on Jamal Murray  
2:27   POR team rebound  
2:24   Offensive foul on Maurice Harkless  
2:24   Turnover on Maurice Harkless  
2:13   Nikola Jokic missed driving layup  
2:11   Offensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
2:02   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
1:50 +2 Enes Kanter made reverse layup, assist by Damian Lillard 107-110
1:36 +2 Jamal Murray made floating jump shot 107-112
1:13   Offensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
1:12 +2 Torrey Craig made dunk 107-114
1:04 +2 Jake Layman made floating jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 109-114
0:44   Defensive rebound by Meyers Leonard  
0:37   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
0:36   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
0:13 +3 Torrey Craig made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 110-117
0:08   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:05   Defensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
0:02   Personal foul on Jake Layman  
0:02 +1 Torrey Craig made 1st of 2 free throws 110-118
0:00   End of period  
Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %