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NBA Playoffs: Powell powers Portland to victory; Philadelphia goes up 3-0

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PORTLAND, OREGON - MAY 29: Norman Powell #24 of the Portland Trail Blazers flexes after his basket against Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets in the third quarter during Round 1, Game 4 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Moda Center on May 29, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Portland’s Norman Powell matched a career playoff high with 29 points, hitting 11-of-13 from the floor to power the Trail Blazers over visiting Denver 115-95 to level their Western Conference series at two wins each.

CJ McCollum scored 21 points and Bosnian center Jusuf Nurkic added 17 for Portland while Serbian center Nikola Jokic led Denver with 16 points.

“The plan was to put a complete 48-minute effort out there,” Powell said. “The focus was continue to compete hard.”

The Trail Blazers led 57-47 at half-time and dominated the third quarter to pull away for good.

“Our starters were awful,” said Nuggets coach Michael Malone. “I thought we had some guys that were tentative, that looked a little scared, who played soft.”

 

Elsewhere, Joel Embiid scored a playoff career high 36 points as the Philadelphia 76ers breezed to a 132-103 victory over the Washington Wizards to seize a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

The 76ers shot 58.6 percent from the floor and 51.5 percent from three-point range and can close out the eighth-seeded Wizards on Monday.

 

In the late game, Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 29 points as the top-seeded Utah Jazz held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 121-111 in game three of their West series.

Mitchell scored 10 of his 29 in the final four minutes as the Jazz went on a 14-2 surge late in the game to take a two-game-to-one series lead.

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