Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton (in blue uniform) congratulates Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard after Portland's 100-96 win in game seven of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday, May 12 at Pepsi Center. (Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
It wasn't the ending that the Denver Nuggets ever thought about.
And it will hurt for some time.
The Nuggets struggled from the field and let a 17-point first half lead sliip away in a 100-96 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in the decisive game seven of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday at Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets came out of the gate on fire, racing to a double-digit lead on Jamal Murray's three free throws with 2:43 left in the first quarter. The lead grew to 17 points on Monte Morris' basket at the 7:26 mark of the second.
But Denver could not sustain that pace and went cold from the field.
After Nikola Jokic made the first two three-point attempts of the game, the Nuggets proceeded to miss their next 19 shots from beyond the arc and finished the game 2-for-19. Overall, they shot only 37.1% on 33-89.
Despite their own shooting issues, the Trail Blazers clawed their way back in the game, thanks in large part toe guard CJ McCollum, who led Portland with 37 points on 17-of-23 from the floor.
McCollum's basket from short range gave Portland its first lead of the game, 71-70, with 12 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The Trail Blazers move on to the Western Conference Finals and will take on the Golden State Warriors.
The Nuggets season comes to an end.
Postgame comments from Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.
Postgame comments from Nuggets guard Jamal Murray.
Postgame comments from Nuggets forward Paul Millsap.
Postgame comments from Nuggets forward Torrey Craig.
Postgame comments from Nuggets guard Will Barton.
Postgame comments from Nuggets head coach Michael Malone.
Postgame comments from Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum.
Postgame comments from Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter.
Postgame comments from Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts.