DENVER (AP) — The celebration will be short-lived for the Denver Nuggets after winning a playoff series for the first time in a decade.
After all, Portland awaits.
The Nuggets knocked off San Antonio 90-86 in Game 7 on Saturday night to move on to the Western Conference semifinals.
A mere hours after their big win — their first series victory since 2009 — the second-seeded Nuggets host a rested Trail Blazers team. Game 1 is Monday, with Game 2 on Wednesday before shifting to Portland. The Blazers have had a few days off after beating Oklahoma City in five games.
“Ive learned over the years you take your accomplishments and you celebrate them. Tonight, celebrate,” Nuggets forward Paul Millsap said. “This is a big accomplishment for this team, big accomplishment for this organization. Youve got to celebrate it. A lot of people didnt give us a chance to win.”
On Sunday afternoon, its back to the business of basketball. Denver was 3-1 against the Blazers in the regular season.
“Its the next challenge. Were going to come in locked in,” Nuggets guard Gary Harris said. “Well watch a lot of film and well be ready.”
Although the Nuggets had some success against Portland this season, they expect to see an entirely different version. Portland lost Jusuf Nurkic when he broke his leg in an overtime victory at home over the Brooklyn Nets on March 25.
They could be without Enes Kanter, whose status for the second round of the playoffs remains uncertain because of a shoulder injury.
“Its playoff basketball. Theyre going to come with some new stuff we havent seen,” guard Monte Morris said. “Were not going to be 100 percent as far as being prepared. Theyve got guys over there who can just break a play off and call their own number.”
“Damian Lillard right now is playing at another level,” Denver coach Michael Malone said.
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