PORTLAND, Oregon. – The Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets are heading into a showdown in Game 7 after things heated up between the teams late on Thursday night's contest.
A fight broke out midway through the fourth quarter of Portland's 119-108 victory, during which Blazers guard Seth Curry and Denver forward Will Barton pushed each other. While the two parted, Barton appeared to bite Curry in the eye. Torrey Craig, of Denver, and Zach Collins, of Portland, also got in when the skirmish escalated.
The officials distributed compensatory technical fouls for the four players.
Afterwards, Curry made an exception to the actions of the Nuggets, particularly of Barton & # 39; s.
"He waited for some people to come between us, and when some people came between us, he put his finger in my eye," Curry said of Barton. "You know what I'm saying, I can not let people put their fingers in my eye.
"That's really daring, they have some daring guys there, runners, and we can not allow that."
The incident occurred after the Nuggets center, Nikola Jokic, drove to the edge and received an offensive foul, which caused Collins to fall backwards towards Barton's legs. Curry came over to help Collins get up and nudged Barton. Barton leaned back, and the skirmish ensued.
Curry said he was surprised that Barton was not expelled. Barton said he does not think he would be suspended for Game 7 and explained that he was simply protecting himself from hurting himself after Collins fell to him.
"It's not meat," Barton said. "I was not even looking for that, I was just trying to protect myself, I guess he thought I was trying to stand on top of him and be strong, I was just trying to get out of the way before he hurt me, he pushed me. no one press me, but that's nothing. "
Craig got in the middle of Barton and Curry, and Collins pushed Craig. Evan Turner, from Portland, approached and held Craig some distance away. The officials took their time to examine the game before delivering technical fouls with 6:16 remaining and Portland is already up 104-90.
"I do not worry about fines," Barton said. "I'm not going to trip over that. [there’s] there is no suspension of that. I think if I [did something to get] suspended, he probably would have been expelled. "
"It's competitive playoff basketball," added Barton. "Some things are going to happen, if we are all out there just being friends, it will not look like anyone will try to win."
It has been a second-round series of the roller coaster between two competitive teams, and it seems natural that tensions will finally erupt.
Damian Lillard hit six three pointers and scored 32 points, and CJ McCollum added 30 points for the Trail Blazers. Rodney Hood provided a difference of 25 points to keep the Portland season alive.
"We do not give up," said Enes Kanter of Portland. "I mean, that's one thing, we do not give up, I mean we lost Game 5 because, what,  points? We know we are capable of winning there, we can beat that team. "
The Blazers won Game 2 at Denver 97-90. But the Nuggets will play a second Game 7 in a row this postseason at home, where they were the best 34-7 in the league in the regular season. However, the Nuggets know they can not simply rely on the fact that they prevailed in Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs at home, 90-86.
"It's weird, everyone talks about the experience," said the Denver guard Jamal Murray said many of the young Nuggets are playing in their first postseason. "I just want to say that we have been here, we will return home, we will regroup as we did for San Antonio, we will return with energy and we will be ready to play."
Denver coach Michael Malone said he expects both teams to be at full strength, and that nothing else comes out of the Game 6 skirmish.
"I know for us, I did not see his bank, but our bank was never close to falling to the floor," Malone said. "The referees and coaches of both teams did a great job of breaking it.
"I did not see anything that would justify more technology, suspensions, whatever, with luck, both teams are in full capacity for Game 7, which is what fans deserve."