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Jokic's 37 points leads Nuggets past Portland 121-113

DENVER (AP) The Denver Nuggets avoided both an emotional letdown and another Damian Lillard masterpiece .

Forty-eight hours after dispatching the Spurs in their first Game 7 triumph in 41 years, the Nuggets rode a 37-point performance from Nikola Jokic to a 121-113 win over the well-rested Portland Trail Blazers in the opener of their second-round series Monday night.

Lillard, who struck for 50 points, including a 37-footer at the buzzer to oust Oklahoma City in five games, scored two more points than Jokic. But he had a-half dozen turnovers, missed 8 of 12 3-point attempts and Gary Harris blocked his 3 from behind in the closing minute to keep the Trail Blazers from closing in.

''We just made him uncomfortable,'' said Jamal Murray, who added 23 points and eight assists for Denver to go with just one turnover.

Despite logging 41 1/2 minutes after playing 43 1/2 two nights earlier, Jokic continued his playoff coming-out party by dominating once more. He made 11 of 18 shots and all 12 of his free throws to go with nine boards and a half dozen assists.

''He's a sponge,'' Paul Millsap said. ''He picks it up. He sees how people are playing him and guarding him and he makes the right play every time. That's what's great about him - he doesn't force anything. Everything is going to be the right play. He's going to make the right reads. He's like a quarterback out there.

''I consider him like a Tom Brady - he's always going to pick you apart and make the right reads. Commend him for doing that at this stage in his career. It's unbelievable.''

Denver coach Michael Malone was more concerned about his team's emotional state than his players' physical state after a hard-fought series with San Antonio while the Blazers, making their sixth straight playoff appearance, were enjoying nearly a week off.

''Saturday night, an emotional high, winning a Game 7, that was part of my biggest concern about tonight,'' Malone said. ''Obviously you're worried about guarding them but how would we react from that emotional hangover? I thought our guys did a pretty good job.''

Game 2 is Wednesday night at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets were coming off a 90-86 win over San Antonio 48 hours earlier, their first Game 7 victory since May 3, 1978, against Milwaukee.

That, said Jokic, was ''a really good game for us. It's Game 7 against an experienced team and I think the level of physicality, the level of pace was at a really, really high level that night. It was a really tough game for us to win and we won it. It gave us an example of how we need to play.''

That's exactly the kind of mettle Malone was looking for from his team, the youngest in the West.

KANTER RETURNS

The Trail Blazers got a boost from Enes Kanter, who separated his left shoulder in Game 5 against the Thunder. He scored 26 points in his return to the lineup.

''Enes was terrific, very efficient, finished around the basket playing through the shoulder injury,'' Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. ''I couldn't have asked any more of him.''

Kanter was more concerned about facing Jokic.

''I didn't even think about my shoulder,'' Kanter said. ''It's the playoffs.''

SLOPPY PLAY

The game was marred by 30 turnovers, but the Blazers turned 12 takeaways to just six points while the Nuggets turned Portland's 18 turnovers into 23 points.

''I think today's game was really sloppy,'' Jokic said. ''There wasn't much defense.''

''It was a good offensive game but I thought the turnovers really made the difference,'' Stotts said.

TIP-INS:

Portland: The Trail Blazers lost three of four to the Nuggets in the regular season, but the Nuggets only outscored them by a cumulative six points. ... The Trail Blazers outshot the Nuggets 51.9% to 50.6%. ...

Denver: The Nuggets are 4-1 at the Pepsi Center in the playoffs after going an NBA-best 37-4 at home during the regular season. ... Denver was 27 of 31 from the free throw line. ... Back-to-back layups by Lillard pulled Portland to within five points with nine minutes left, but Jokic sank a pair of free throws off CJ McCollum's flagrant foul sandwiched by a pair of dunks by Mason Plumlee as Denver pushed its lead back to double digits at 107-96.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:35   Nikola Jokic missed jump shot  
11:30   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
11:24   Lost ball turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Nikola Jokic  
11:21 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot 0-3
11:03 +3 CJ McCollum made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 3-3
10:51   Paul Millsap missed floating jump shot  
10:41   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
10:31 +2 Paul Millsap made finger-roll layup 3-5
10:16   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:14   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
9:46   Offensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
9:46 +2 Enes Kanter made dunk 5-7
9:32   Jamal Murray missed floating jump shot  
9:32   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
9:17   CJ McCollum missed floating jump shot  
9:17   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
9:11   Shooting foul on Maurice Harkless  
9:11   Gary Harris missed 1st of 2 free throws  
9:11   DEN team rebound  
9:11 +1 Gary Harris made 2nd of 2 free throws 5-8
8:53   Bad pass turnover on CJ McCollum, stolen by Gary Harris  
8:39   Torrey Craig missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:36   Defensive rebound by Damian Lillard  
8:31   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:28   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
8:17 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Gary Harris 5-11
7:55 +2 Enes Kanter made hook shot, assist by Maurice Harkless 7-11
7:36 +2 Paul Millsap made jump shot, assist by Gary Harris 7-13
7:19 +2 Damian Lillard made finger-roll layup 9-13
7:08 +2 Paul Millsap made alley-oop shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 9-15
6:51 +3 CJ McCollum made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Maurice Harkless 12-15
6:29 +2 Enes Kanter made dunk, assist by Damian Lillard 14-15
6:13   Shooting foul on Al-Farouq Aminu  
6:13 +1 Paul Millsap made 1st of 2 free throws 14-16
6:13 +1 Paul Millsap made 2nd of 2 free throws 14-17
5:56 +2 Enes Kanter made layup, assist by CJ McCollum 16-17
5:47 +3 Nikola Jokic made 3-pt. jump shot 16-20
5:26 +2 CJ McCollum made floating jump shot 18-20
5:06   Traveling violation turnover on Paul Millsap  
4:50 +2 CJ McCollum made floating jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 20-20
4:19   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
4:19   Al-Farouq Aminu missed free throw  
4:14   Defensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
4:05 +2 Gary Harris made reverse layup 22-24
3:52 +2 Enes Kanter made layup, assist by Damian Lillard 24-24
3:27   CJ McCollum missed finger-roll layup  
3:24   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
2:47 +3 Damian Lillard made 3-pt. jump shot 27-28
2:28 +2 Nikola Jokic made hook shot 27-30
2:09   Rodney Hood missed finger-roll layup, blocked by Mason Plumlee  
2:06   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
1:49 +3 Damian Lillard made 3-pt. jump shot 30-30
1:20   CJ McCollum missed driving layup, blocked by Malik Beasley  
1:20   DEN team rebound  
0:56   Nikola Jokic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:56   DEN team rebound  
0:56   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
0:34 +2 Zach Collins made layup, assist by Damian Lillard 32-32
0:19   Traveling violation turnover on Monte Morris  
0:01   Out of bounds turnover on Damian Lillard  
0:00   Will Barton missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:44 +3 Rodney Hood made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Meyers Leonard 35-32
11:28   Mason Plumlee missed layup  
11:26   Defensive rebound by Meyers Leonard  
11:20   Meyers Leonard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:16   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
11:10   Paul Millsap missed fade-away jump shot  
11:07   Defensive rebound by Seth Curry  
10:56   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
10:46   Personal foul on Seth Curry  
10:43   Offensive foul on Monte Morris  
10:43   Turnover on Monte Morris  
10:23   Lost ball turnover on Zach Collins, stolen by Mason Plumlee  
10:12   Shooting foul on Zach Collins  
10:12 +1 Paul Millsap made 1st of 2 free throws 35-33
10:05   Meyers Leonard missed jump shot  
9:55   Shooting foul on Malik Beasley  
9:55 +1 Rodney Hood made 1st of 2 free throws 36-34
9:55 +1 Rodney Hood made 2nd of 2 free throws 37-34
9:45 +2 Will Barton made floating jump shot 37-36
9:23 +3 Rodney Hood made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Meyers Leonard 40-36
9:08   Mason Plumlee missed jump shot  
9:06   Defensive rebound by Evan Turner  
8:59   Personal foul on Paul Millsap  
8:52   Rodney Hood missed jump shot  
8:48   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
8:44 +2 Monte Morris made floating jump shot 40-38
8:16   Defensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
8:08   Defensive rebound by Rodney Hood  
8:00   Bad pass turnover on Rodney Hood, stolen by Mason Plumlee  
7:55 +2 Will Barton made layup, assist by Mason Plumlee 40-40
7:28   Seth Curry missed finger-roll layup  
7:18   Defensive rebound by Meyers Leonard  
6:59   Rodney Hood missed hook shot  
6:52   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
6:37   Offensive rebound by Will Barton  
6:36   Shooting foul on Zach Collins  
6:36 +1 Will Barton made 1st of 2 free throws 40-41
6:36 +1 Will Barton made 2nd of 2 free throws 40-42
6:20   Enes Kanter missed reverse layup, blocked by Nikola Jokic  
6:15 +2 Zach Collins made driving layup, assist by Evan Turner 42-42
6:03   Monte Morris missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:59   Defensive rebound by Evan Turner  
5:48 +2 Damian Lillard made finger-roll layup 44-42
5:31   Nikola Jokic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:28   Defensive rebound by CJ McCollum  
5:20   CJ McCollum missed finger-roll layup  
5:16   Offensive rebound by Evan Turner  
5:03 +2 Enes Kanter made finger-roll layup 46-42
4:54 +3 Will Barton made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 46-45
4:28   Bad pass turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Mason Plumlee  
4:19   Will Barton missed driving layup  
4:17   Defensive rebound by Evan Turner  
4:15 +3 Damian Lillard made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Evan Turner 49-45
3:49 +2 Paul Millsap made reverse layup 49-47
3:32 +2 Damian Lillard made finger-roll layup 51-47
3:20 +3 Nikola Jokic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 51-50
2:56   Al-Farouq Aminu missed turnaround jump shot  
2:56   POR team rebound  
2:56   Personal foul on Jamal Murray  
2:51   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:47   Defensive rebound by Gary Harris  
2:35 +2 Paul Millsap made hook shot 51-51
2:35   Shooting foul on Maurice Harkless  
2:35 +1 Paul Millsap made free throw 51-52
2:24 +2 CJ McCollum made floating jump shot 53-52
2:10 +2 Nikola Jokic made turnaround jump shot 53-54
1:53 +2 Enes Kanter made reverse layup, assist by Maurice Harkless 55-54
1:31   Offensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
1:24   Personal foul on Torrey Craig  
1:23   Bad pass turnover on Damian Lillard, stolen by Jamal Murray  
1:19   Out of bounds turnover on Jamal Murray  
1:04   CJ McCollum missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:57   Bad pass turnover on Al-Farouq Aminu, stolen by Malik Beasley  
0:55   Shooting foul on CJ McCollum  
0:55 +1 Malik Beasley made 1st of 2 free throws 55-55
0:51   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
0:34   Lost ball turnover on Maurice Harkless, stolen by Nikola Jokic  
0:28   Personal foul on Al-Farouq Aminu  
0:28 +1 Mason Plumlee made 1st of 2 free throws 55-56
0:28 +1 Mason Plumlee made 2nd of 2 free throws 55-57
0:00   Jamal Murray missed finger-roll layup  
0:00   Defensive rebound by Al-Farouq Aminu  
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:43   POR team rebound  
11:43   Personal foul on Gary Harris  
11:34 +2 Maurice Harkless made layup, assist by CJ McCollum 57-58
11:04   Al-Farouq Aminu missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:55   Personal foul on Al-Farouq Aminu  
10:51   Shooting foul on Damian Lillard  
10:51 +1 Jamal Murray made 1st of 2 free throws 57-59
10:51 +1 Jamal Murray made 2nd of 2 free throws 57-60
10:38   Shooting foul on Nikola Jokic  
10:38 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 58-60
10:38 +1 Damian Lillard made 2nd of 2 free throws 59-60
10:29   Personal foul on Enes Kanter  
10:23 +3 Gary Harris made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 59-63
9:50 +2 Nikola Jokic made floating jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 61-65
9:38   CJ McCollum missed driving layup, blocked by Gary Harris  
9:36   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
9:29   Gary Harris missed driving layup, blocked by Al-Farouq Aminu  
9:25   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
9:10 +2 Enes Kanter made jump shot 63-65
8:51 +3 Nikola Jokic made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 63-68
8:32   Out of bounds turnover on Al-Farouq Aminu  
8:23 +2 Jamal Murray made finger-roll layup 63-70
8:05   Traveling violation turnover on Enes Kanter  
7:48 +3 Torrey Craig made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 63-73
7:26   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
7:26 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 64-73
7:26 +1 Damian Lillard made 2nd of 2 free throws 65-73
7:10   Out of bounds turnover on Gary Harris  
6:56   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
6:44   Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter  
6:38   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
6:32   Personal foul on Maurice Harkless  
6:30   Personal foul on Enes Kanter  
6:30 +1 Nikola Jokic made 1st of 2 free throws 65-74
6:30 +1 Nikola Jokic made 2nd of 2 free throws 65-75
6:15 +2 Damian Lillard made finger-roll layup 67-75
6:00 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot 67-78
5:46   Shooting foul on Paul Millsap  
5:46 +1 Enes Kanter made 1st of 2 free throws 68-78
5:46 +1 Enes Kanter made 2nd of 2 free throws 69-78
5:34   Shooting foul on Zach Collins  
5:34   Paul Millsap missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:34   DEN team rebound  
5:34   Paul Millsap missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
5:33   POR team rebound  
5:19   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
5:19 +1 Damian Lillard made 1st of 2 free throws 70-78
5:19 +1 Damian Lillard made 2nd of 2 free throws 71-78
5:06   Paul Millsap missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:00   Defensive rebound by CJ McCollum  
4:54   Defensive rebound by Paul Millsap  
4:38   Jamal Murray missed jump shot  
4:33   Offensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
4:33 +2 Nikola Jokic made dunk 71-80
4:18 +2 Enes Kanter made floating jump shot, assist by Damian Lillard 73-80
4:01   Bad pass turnover on Malik Beasley, stolen by Damian Lillard  
3:54   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:54   DEN team rebound  
3:27 +2 Rodney Hood made driving dunk 75-82
3:14   Shooting foul on Meyers Leonard  
3:14 +1 Nikola Jokic made 1st of 2 free throws 75-83
3:14 +1 Nikola Jokic made 2nd of 2 free throws 75-84
2:56 +3 Meyers Leonard made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Rodney Hood 78-84
2:34   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:31   Offensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
2:18   Lost ball turnover on Nikola Jokic, stolen by Zach Collins  
2:08   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
2:06 +3 Gary Harris made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 78-87
1:40 +2 Rodney Hood made floating jump shot, assist by CJ McCollum 80-87
1:19 +2 Gary Harris made reverse layup, assist by Nikola Jokic 80-89
1:08   Personal foul on Malik Beasley  
1:08 +1 Rodney Hood made 1st of 2 free throws 81-89
1:08 +1 Rodney Hood made 2nd of 2 free throws 82-89
0:58   Personal foul on Meyers Leonard  
0:58 +1 Nikola Jokic made 2nd of 2 free throws 82-91
0:43   Rodney Hood missed finger-roll layup  
0:41   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
0:29   Defensive rebound by Damian Lillard  
0:21 +2 Damian Lillard made finger-roll layup 84-91
0:02 +2 Monte Morris made fade-away jump shot 84-93

4th Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:44 +3 Rodney Hood made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Evan Turner 87-93
11:31   Personal foul on Rodney Hood  
11:21 +3 Malik Beasley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Paul Millsap 87-96
11:06   Shooting foul on Malik Beasley  
11:06   Damian Lillard missed 1st of 3 free throws  
11:06 +1 Damian Lillard made 2nd of 3 free throws 88-96
11:06 +1 Damian Lillard made 3rd of 3 free throws 89-96
10:51 +3 Malik Beasley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Paul Millsap 89-99
10:37   Offensive foul on Zach Collins  
10:19 +2 Paul Millsap made jump shot, assist by Will Barton 89-101
10:01   Damian Lillard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:58   Evan Turner missed reverse layup, blocked by Paul Millsap  
9:55   Offensive rebound by Evan Turner  
9:54 +3 Seth Curry made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Evan Turner 92-101
9:31   Personal foul on Monte Morris  
9:24 +2 Damian