Will suspensions stem from Trail Blazers’ Game 2 win over Nuggets? (video)

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The Nuggets’ and Trail Blazers’ outside shooting was brutal enough.

Then, Portland’s 97-90 Game 2 win got even uglier.

Late in the game, Denver forward Torrey Craig – who returned from a bloody nose injury wearing a mask – got knocked by down Enes Kanter.

I don’t think Kanter intended to collide with Craig. Nikola Jokic pushed Kanter, and as soon as an off-balance Kanter turned to run up court, Craig was right in front of him.

But Gary Harris and Jamal Murray stuck up for their teammate and jawed with Kanter. Murray and Kanter got double technical fouls:

The big question: Will anyone get suspended for Game 3 Friday for leaving the bench area?

A timeout was called before the altercation, giving players additional leeway to be on the court. But Trail Blazers forward Evan Turner ran from his team’s bench area to get into the thick of the scrum.

Nuggets reserves Jarred Vanderbilt and Trey Lyles were also right in the mix. However, the clash occurred on side of the court with the Nuggets’ bench, and it’s unclear where Vanderbilt and Lyles were when it began. Murray was also out of the game, but since he apparently elevated the incident into an altercation, that’d by definition mean he didn’t leave the bench to enter an ongoing altercation.

Still, Vanderbilt got physically involved. He pushed Kanter then, as Rodney Hood separated Kanter, pushed Hood.

Turner is in Portland’s playoff rotation. Murray is in and Vanderbilt and Lyles are outside Denver’s.

My guess: Turner will get suspended. The telecast didn’t show Vanderbilt’s and and Lyles’ paths clearly enough to predict their fates, but Vanderbilt’s activity in the light skirmish could draw its own penalty. Ditto Murray’s, but his technical foul might be enough.

Portland might especially miss Turner, because starting small forward Maurice Harkless left the game in the first half with an ankle injury. He was solidly defending Murray, who got into a better rhythm afterward.

No matter what the league decides, the Nuggets will need more than a Turner suspension to get back on track in this 1-1 series.

Denver shot just 6-for-29 (21%) on 3-pointers, which was even worse than Portland’s 9-for-29 (31%). Their combined 3-point percentage (26%) was the second-lowest in a game this postseason. Only the Nuggets and Spurs shot worse – 19% in Game 7, though on 15 few shots than the teams took tonight.

It seemed that seven-game series could take a toll on Denver, and maybe the effects finally caught up tonight. The Nuggets missed many open 3s, perhaps a sign of fatigue. But they’re also capable of generating even better shots, and their offensive activity was lacking.

Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals) defended much better than Game 1. Denver also made it easier on him, not forcing him to move his feet as much.

The Nuggets turned up their intensity late, but kept missing shots. In the fourth quarter, they grabbed 14 offensive rebounds to only four Portland defensive rebounds.

But, by then, it was too late. Behind a strong performance from C.J. McCollum (20 points and six assists), the Trail Blazers led the final 42 minutes.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.