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 the Portland Trail Blazers 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 so evenly matched coming in that Denver held a cumulative scoring advantage of 464-462.
The Nuggets never trailed 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 the arc, going 2 of 9 on 3-pointers.
RAPTORS 125, 76ERS 89
TORONTO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 21 points and 13 rebounds, Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and the Toronto Raptors used a huge second quarter to rout the Philadelphia 76ers 125-89 Tuesday night and take a 3-2 lead in their 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, while 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.
Up by one after the first, the Raptors outscored the 76ers 37-17 in the second quarter to take a 21-point lead, 64-43,at halftime.
Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and Tobias Harris had 15 for the 76ers, who have lost two straight after winning the previous two. Joel Embiid scored 13 points and had eight turnovers.