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    The Denver Nuggets are playing playoff-caliber basketball. One more win and they’ll be doing it for real.
    Facing elimination and an 11-point deficit midway through the third quarter Monday night Authentic Sampo Ranta Jersey , the Nuggets rallied past the Portland Trail Blazers 88-82 for their sixth consecutive victory.
    ”That was another playoff game. That was just tough, physical for 48 minutes,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.
    One more win Wednesday night at Minnesota and the Nuggets will end a five-year playoff drought.
    The Trail Blazers have lost four straight but still harbor hopes of clinching the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
    ”At the end of the day this team is going to make a shot. I’m not worried about that,” said Jusuf Nurkic, who had 20 points and 19 rebounds. ”We have one more at home (against Utah) and it’s probably going to be for the third spot. We’re going to fight for that.”
    The Nuggets kept their season alive thanks to Nikola Jokic’s 10th triple-double of the season and a stifling defense on a night their starters made just 22 of 61 shots.
    ”I told them at halftime, I was honest, I said, `Fellas, if we lose, we’re out.’ I knew some of these other teams had won games. And I felt we played like our lives were on the line,” Malone said. ”It wasn’t pretty Vita Vea Color Rush Jersey , but I thought our defense was phenomenal.”
    The Trail Blazers scored 25 points off 18 offensive rebounds but managed only one bucket and two offensive boards in the fourth quarter, when they were held to 13 points.
    Jokic scored 15 points, pulled down a season-best 20 rebounds and had 11 assists. Will Barton added 22 points, leading a comeback from an 11-point third-quarter deficit.
    ”It was a playoff tuneup,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. ”Both teams competed at a high level. I was proud of the way we defended, especially when you’re having trouble making shots. I’m actually encouraged by the way we played, the way we fought. If we get those looks most of the time we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”
    Damian Lillard led Portland with 25 points.
    Jokic secured his 16th career triple-double when he fed Devin Harris for a 3-pointer that put the Nuggets ahead 73-71 with eight minutes left, their first lead of the second half.
    They didn’t trail again.
    The Nuggets’ big win came exactly one year after Russell Westbrook’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave Oklahoma City a 106-105 win at Denver that eliminated the Nuggets from last year’s playoff party.
    This time, it was Denver that came up big in the end.
    TIP-INS
    Trail Blazers: F Ed Davis returned to action after missing four games with a sprained right ankle, and Stotts said the boost he provided was bigger than his 5.4-point and 7.4-rebound averages. ”What he offers on the court is unique, as far as his rebounding Authentic Josh Allen Jersey , his screen setting, his finishing around the paint, all those things,” Stotts said. ”His presence in the locker room, his presence on the bench. Just the intangibles. He’s been a very integral part of what we’ve done this year.”
    Nuggets: Malone said he decided to bring Gary Harris off the bench rather than start him because he didn’t want to mess with the chemistry the Nuggets had developed while going 7-4 in his absence. … Barton had averaged 18.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists while starting in Harris’ place the previous 11 games.
    TECHNICAL SPARK: Malone drew a technical for arguing a no-foul call when Jamal Murray went down hard with 6:18 left in the third quarter and the Nuggets trailing 62-53.
    The Nuggets outscored Portland 35-20 afterward.
    ”Coaches are funny that way,” Devin Harris said. ”I thought it was the right thing to do. Obviously, I thought Jamal got fouled. But he used it to kind of fire us up and we needed a little bit of an energy pick-up right there and I thought Coach gave it to us.”
    NO HELP:
    The teams ahead of Denver in the playoff race haven’t done the Nuggets any favors. A loss to Portland would have eliminated the Nuggets from playoff contention because the Spurs, Timberwolves, Thunder and Pelicans all won Monday night.
    They won’t be watching the scoreboard Wednesday night, either.
    ”We can’t anticipate them helping us Kody Clark Capitals Jersey ,” Devin Harris said. ”We dug ourselves into this hole; we’ve got to dig ourselves out.”
    ”We wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Gary Harris, who returned from an 11-game absence with 12 points. ”If we win we’re in.”
    UP NEXT
    Trail Blazers: Play Utah at home Wednesday night in their regular season finale.
    Nuggets: Can end their playoff drought with a win at Minnesota on Wednesday night.

    Rockets star Chris Paul is receiving treatment ”around the clock” on his injured right hamstring and coach Mike D’Antoni hopes it will only be a matter of days before he is healthy enough to play again.
    The timeline remained unclear whether Paul might be fine to play a possible Game 7 if the Rockets lost Saturday night’s Game 6 and had to return to Houston to face the Golden State Warriors again Monday night. Eric Gordon started in Paul’s place Saturday at Oracle Arena.
    ”I think he’ll play as soon as he can,” D’Antoni said before the game Saturday. ”It’s just not a question of trying to outsmart. He’s going to play. As soon as he’s able to walk and run, he’ll do it. There was no shot at it today.”
    Golden State forward Andre Iguodala was out for a third straight game this series after he sustained a bone bruise in his left knee during Game 3. Coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala continues to have pain when running, so he’s still listed as day to day.
    ”It’s a bone bruise, and those are hard to predict,” Kerr said. ”Until he’s able to really run without pain, then he can’t play.”
    Paul’s presence at Oracle Arena still meant plenty.
    ”He’s devastated. He has to be. We’re all devastated for him. At the same time, we’ll rally and do what’s right,” D’Antoni said. ”He’s so integral in what we do and the spirit of the team. And him being here is a big deal Courtland Sutton Color Rush Jersey , and him being on the bench is a big deal. He’ll will us through, if he can.”
    Kerr felt terribly for Paul – and others who have gone down.
    ”More than anything, I feel bad for Chris. The guy is a phenomenal player and competitor, and pretty much willed his team the last two games. He’s just been haunted by these types of injuries in his career, and it’s a shame,” Kerr said.
    ”I hate when anybody gets hurt. I hate when Andre got hurt. I hate to see Kevin Love last night, Kyrie (Irving). These guys train so hard and they’re here and they’re competing, and you want everybody to be healthy, but just the reality is it usually doesn’t work out that way. So you’ve just got to keep playing with whoever’s there and keep going.”
    Second-year Golden State guard Patrick McCaw, who had been out since a scary back injury at Sacramento on March 31 when undercut by Vince Carter, was available to play after earlier being upgraded to questionable. He wasn’t expected to contribute key minutes given the injury and time missed.
    ”It would be a tough spot to put him in http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com...fin-iii-jersey , in the meat of the game, with not having played for a long time. But at this point, it’s all hands on deck, obviously,” Kerr said. ”You never know how the game’s going to play out. I had teammates who literally played one play in a playoff game and made a play and helped us win a game. So you just never know.”

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