Nikola Jokic scored 37 factors and the Denver Nuggets averted being swept out of the NBA playoffs on Sunday, holding off the Golden State Warriors 126-121.
The 27-year-old Serbian, final season’s NBA Most Worthwhile Participant, additionally delivered eight rebounds and 6 assists because the Nuggets pulled inside 3-1 of their best-of-seven Western Convention first-round collection to pressure a fifth sport on Wednesday at San Francisco.
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The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks and the Japanese Convention top-seeded Miami Warmth pushed their collection results in 3-1 with lopsided victories.
The Bucks routed the Chicago Bulls 119-95 and the Warmth dominated the Atlanta Hawks 110-86.
The upstart New Orleans Pelicans, final group to clinch their playoff spot, beat the West’s top-seeded Phoenix Suns 118-103 to knot their collection two video games apiece.
Jokic acknowledged that the Nuggets had been decided to keep away from a sweep on their dwelling ground in opposition to the Warriors.
“We put up the combat,” Jokic mentioned. “We didn’t need to get swept. Now we have extra satisfaction in ourselves.”
After Stephen Curry nailed a protracted jumper to offer Golden State a 121-119 lead with 1:21 to play, Jokic made a layup, Monte Morris sank a go-ahead jumper with 33 seconds remaining and, after a steal by Austin Rivers, Jokic fired a move to Will Barton for the deciding nook three-pointer with 8.3 seconds remaining.
No group in NBA historical past has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff collection, however Jokic says the Nuggets have the spirit to make historical past.
“We’ve actually acquired our second wind, so why not?” he mentioned.
Within the 2020 playoffs performed within the coronavirus bubble, the Nuggets grew to become the primary group to rally from 3-1 down in a collection twice in the identical post-season.
“Can I say we have now them proper the place we wish them? No,” mentioned Nuggets coach Michael Malone. “However we’re alive.”
Morris had 24 factors and Aaron Gordon added 21 for Denver.
Curry had 33 off the bench — 15 within the fourth quarter — to steer Golden State, whereas Klay Thompson had 32 in his first 30-point playoff sport because the 2019 NBA Finals.
In Chicago, Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered sport highs of 32 factors and 17 rebounds to steer the Bucks. The Greek star additionally handed off seven assists and blocked two photographs to place the Bucks in management as they head dwelling for sport 5 on Wednesday.
Bucks reserve Grayson Allen scored a career-playoff-high 27 on 10-of-12 capturing, 6-of-7 from three-point vary, whereas Jrue Vacation added 26 factors and Bobby Portis had 14 for Milwaukee, who had been once more with out injured ahead Khris Middleton.
The Bulls, who haven’t gained a house playoff sport since 2015, had been led by Zach LaVine with 24 factors and 13 assists whereas DeMar DeRozan added 23 factors.
– Warmth scorch Hawks –
Jimmy Butler led the Warmth in Miami, scoring 36 factors to place the group on the point of advancing.
Miami held Atlanta star Trae Younger to simply 9 factors on 3-of-11 capturing — all three of his baskets three-pointers.
“They introduced the stress and we simply couldn’t match it,” Younger mentioned.
Butler added 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals for a Warmth group that was with out Kyle Lowry, who was sidelined with a hamstring pressure however was a vocal presence on the bench.
Trailing by one after the primary quarter, the Warmth seized management with a 30-15 second quarter that featured a 15-0 scoring run and closed with an 11-0 surge. They’ll attempt to shut it out on their dwelling ground on Tuesday.
Phoenix, who led the league with 64 regular-season wins, discover themselves heading dwelling for sport 5 on tied 2-2 with a younger Pelicans group that harried them all through a generally tense battle in New Orleans.
Brandon Ingram scored 30 factors and Jonas Valanciunas added a playoff-career-high 26 factors and 15 rebounds to steer the Pelicans in opposition to a Suns group lacking prime scorer Devin Booker, sidelined the rest of the collection with a hamstring pressure.
Phoenix, led by 23 factors from DeAndre Ayton, led 51-49 at halftime.
However New Orleans outscored Phoenix by 13 factors within the third quarter to take a 10-point lead and put it away with a 12-0 scoring run that pushed their result in 16 factors halfway by way of the ultimate interval.
Suns star Chris Paul, harried all night time by New Orleans’ Jose Alvarado, scored simply 4 factors with 11 assists and was whistled for one in every of three technical fouls meted out to the Suns.
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