Nuggets’ playoff hopes take hit in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Nuggets chances of making the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2014 season took a major hit Tuesday night.

The Nuggets were burned by one of their former players as Jusuf Nurkic scored a career-high 33 points with 16 rebounds in Portland’s 122-113 win.

C.J. McCollum posted a game-high 39 points for Portland, which took a firm hold on the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Portland leads the Nuggets by one game for the final playoff spot and also owns the tiebreaker between the teams after winning the season series, 3-1.

The Nuggets were led by Jameer Nelson’s 23 points.

After the game, Nuggets coach Mike Malone was most notably upset with the lack of rebounding on the defensive end.

“To come on the road and get outrebounded and give up 28 second-chance points is unacceptable,” Malone said.

Nurkic left the game to a standing ovation with 19 seconds to play.  He then spoke to the crowd after the game, even taking a shot at his former team.

“I wish those guys a happy summer,” Nurkic said.

Malone’s message to his team after the game was a little more grounded.

“You just tip your hat to Portland,” he said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”

The Nuggets play Friday as they continue a five-game trip in Charlotte. The Blazers play host to Houston on Thursday night.