CJ McCollum scores 20 points as Portland beats Denver to tie their series

DENVER — CJ McCollum scored 20 points, picking up the slack with backcourt mate Damian Lillard struggling, and Portland turned back the Nuggets 97-90 on Wednesday night to even their playoff series at 1-1.

The Trail Blazers led by 15 at halftime and 14 to start the fourth but the Nuggets pulled to 95-90 in the final minute, thanks to an astonishing 14 offensive rebounds and a 19-9 run before Rodney Hood’s two free throws with 17 seconds left iced it.

“The good news is they had all of those offensive rebounds but they didn’t convert a lot,” Portland head coach Terry Stotts said. “They were 8-for-24 on second-chance points. We were fortunate we came away not hurt as badly as we could have been on the offensive boards.

“(Nikola) Jokic and (Paul) Millsap were just playing volleyball with it. They’re both excellent offensive rebounders … We’ve got to make sure they don’t have those opportunities in Game 3.”

Lillard added 14 points and was 5-for-17 from the floor and 1-for-7 from 3-point range, after scoring 39 points in the series opener.

Jokic had 16 points and 14 boards, but wasn’t the force he was in Game 1, when he scored 37 points.

The series shifts to Portland for Game 3 on Friday night.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/CJ-McCollum-scores-20-points-as-Portland-beats-13812500.php.

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