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Nurkic the key for Blazers as series shifts back to Denver for pivotal Game 5

In NBA history, the team that wins Game 5 in a 2-2 series has gone on to win the series 83% of the time.
Credit: Steve Dykes, AP
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, drives to the basket on Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

DENVER — The first-round NBA playoff series between the sixth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers and third-seeded Denver Nuggets shifts back to Denver for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2 after each team won once on the opponent's home court.

The Blazers are coming off a 115-95 win in Game 4. Norman Powell led the way on offense for Portland with 29 points. Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points and played excellent defense against MVP favorite Nikola Jokic, who had 16 points and missed 11 of 18 shots. In the first three games of the series, Jokic averaged 36 points on 57.7% shooting.

Nurkic has been the key to victory for Portland through the first four games of the series. In the 116 minutes Nurkic has been on the court, the Blazers have been dominant, outscoring the Nuggets by 53 points. But in the 76 minutes Nurkic has been on the bench, the Blazers have been outscored by 43 points. Nurkic fouled out in Games 2 and 3, both Denver victories.

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Denver and it's hard to overstate the importance of this game. In NBA history, the team that wins Game 5 in a 2-2 series has gone on to win the series 83% of the time.

Oddsmakers seem to believe in the Trail Blazers. Portland is currently the favorite to win the series, with oddsmakers putting their odds at -125, according to Oregon Lottery Scoreboard.

Tonight's game

Game 5, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, series tied 2-2

Where: at Ball Arena, Denver

Time: 6 p.m.

TV: NBC Sports Northwest, NBA TV

Radio: Rip City Radio 620 AM

Streaming: Click here for more information about streaming options, including through the NBC Sports MyTeams app, CenturyLink, YouTube TV, Hulu and FuboTV.

Betting line: Denver -2.5, via Oregon Lottery Scoreboard

Blazers injury report: Jusuf Nurkic (left thumb contusion is available. Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture) is out.

Nuggets injury report: Will Barton (right hamstring strain), PJ Dozier (right abductor strain) and Jamal Murray (left ACL surgery) are out.

Series schedule

Game 1: Blazers 123, Nuggets 109

Game 2: Nuggets 128, Blazers 109

Game 3: Nuggets 120, Blazers 115

Game 4: Blazers 115, Nuggets 95

Game 5: Tuesday, at Denver, 6 p.m.

Game 6: Thursday, at Portland, TBD

x-Game 7: Saturday, at Denver, TBD

x-if necessary

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