Nikola Jokic helps Denver Nuggets level series with Portland Trail Blazers

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Nikola Jokic poured in 38 points as the Denver Nuggets earned a  128-109 over the Portland Trail Blazers to level their first-round play-off series at 1-1.

The Serbian centre, who also claimed eight rebounds and handed out five assists, had to go big to nullify the deep threat of Portland’s Damian Lillard, whose eight three-pointers by half-time tied the league play-off record.

The physical battle – Denver received three of the game’s four technical fouls, including one on Jokic – saw the Trail Blazers rally in the fourth quarter before succumbing to their Western Conference rivals, with Lillard’s 42-point haul proving in vain.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in a game-high 31 points as the Milwaukee Bucks easily accounted for the Miami Heat 132-98 and moved 2-0 up in their series.

Bryn Forbes (22 points) was lethal from beyond the arc as he contributed six three-pointers to Milwaukee’s total of 22  – their highest ever recorded in a play-off game.

Miami hustled in the second half but could not avoid the loss, which snapped a 19-game run of encounters where the Heat had scored at least 100 points.