Nikola Jokic scored 25 points and tied a team playoff high with 19 rebounds, and Paul Millsap injected some experience into a series dominated by youth, sparking the Nuggets’ 124-98 blowout of Portland in Denver on Tuesday night that gave Denver a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Nuggets can secure their first trip to the Western Conference finals in a decade with a win in Game 6 on Thursday night in Portland.
Millsap scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half of the first lopsided game in a series that was evenly matched coming into Tuesday: Denver held a cumulative scoring advantage of 464-462.
The Nuggets did not trail, and stretched a six-point lead after one quarter to 18 at the half and 28 heading into the fourth quarter. They led by as many as 31 before a parade of backups gave the starters some much-needed breathers.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 22 points but again struggled from beyond the arc, going 2-for-9.
Raptors 125, 76ers 89: Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and 13 rebounds, Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and host Toronto used a huge second quarter to win and take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Toronto can advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second time in four seasons with a victory in Game 6 at Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Raptors lost in six games to Cleveland in the East finals in 2016.
Leonard, who had scored 33 or more points in each of the first four games of the series, shot 7-for-16 from the field and 7-for-8 at the line before checking out with 7:22 to play and Toronto up 103-73.
Kyle Lowry scored 19 points. Danny Green shot 5-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 17 points. Marc Gasol scored 11 points and Serge Ibaka had 10.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Denver-takes-lead-in-series-behind-Jokic-and-13827735.php.