Steph Curry had very simple message for brother Seth after Blazers won

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The teams often looked tight and exhausted, the execution waxed and waned, but the tension was palpable, and the Blazers did just enough to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2000.

Things got chippy midway through the fourth quarter when Portland center Zach Collins fell at the feet of Nuggets guard Will Barton. A bigger concern for Portland is trying to stop Denver center Nikola Jokic.

The home team dominated a testy first half that included a tense moment and went into the locker room up by nine points, 48-39. However, McCollum responded with a step-back jumper to extend Portland's lead back up to three. Portland (1-for-19) and Denver (2-for-13) are a combined 3-for-32 from beyond the arc in this game.

"I missed those free throws, that one free throw at the end and the one free throw in the Portland game". However, ultimately it was McCollum who led the way for Portland as he dropped 37 points on 58.6 percent shooting from the field.

The Trail Blazers cut the Nuggets' 17-point lead to one possession, but an and-1 finish from Torrey Craig regains some momentum for Denver. He and Moe Harkless were the only players on the team to shoot over 50% from the field in Game 7, and Harkless only took five shots. McCollum dribbled his way into a variety of looks from around the court as Denver couldn't consistently take him out of the game.

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Lillard has been Portland's only All-Star since 2015. Enes Kanter is the third double-digit scorer and Al-Farouq Aminu is grabbing 7.1 rebounds. Despite the tough loss, Jokić continued to be the driving force until the very end.

If having a huge performance in a Game 7 win on the road wasn't enough, getting co-signed by the best player in the league is a ideal way to complete McCollum's brilliant Sunday. Denver averages 13.4 turnovers per game and is 26-14 when they have fewer turnovers than their opponents. And I was saying after we should have sent someone at him.

McCollum, who had 30 points in Portland's Game 6 victory, came up big on a night Damian Lillard made just 3 of 17 shots for 13 points.

Both the Raptors and Nuggets lost by double digits in Game 6 and now have an uphill battle in Game 7 on the road.

Despite the season-ending loss, Malone is more than comfortable with the state of the franchise. Or will we see more Dame Time?

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