Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic totaled 37 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a playoff win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday in Denver. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
April 25 (UPI) -- Nikola Jokic scored a game-high 37 points and the Denver Nuggets held off a furious Golden State Warriors rally to claim Game 4 of their first-round Western Conference series and avoid playoff elimination.
The reigning NBA MVP made 14 of 21 field goal attempts in the 126-121 win Sunday at Ball Arena in Denver. The best-of-seven series, which the Warriors lead 3-1, now heads back to San Francisco.
"I'm really sad we didn't win the game before because [our] fans are really great," Jokic told reporters. "They were on our side, but I'm happy we won at least one at our home arena."
The No. 6 seed Nuggets held a 17-point first-half lead, but Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson paced a comeback over the final 24 minutes of the loss.
The "Splash Brothers" totaled 45 points in the second half of the setback. Thompson totaled 13 in the third and Curry scored 15 over the final 12 minutes.
The Nuggets outscored the No. 3 Warriors 26-21 in the first and 37-31 in the second. The Warriors cut the lead to six in the third. They outscored the Nuggets 32-28 in the fourth and took a 121-119 lead with 1:21 remaining, but couldn't keep that advantage.
Jokic jumpstarted a 7-0 run over the final 1:06 to seal the Game 4 win for the Nuggets.
Curry and Thompson totaled 33 and 32 points, respectively. Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins totaled 20 points. Warriors forward Draymond Green totaled 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
Nuggets guard Monte Morris and forward Aaron Gordon scored 24 and 21 points, respectively. Bones Hyland chipped in 15 off the Nuggets bench.
"When you are on the road, with a team playing as desperate as they were, it leads to a tough night," Curry said. "You can take the positives and know what we can do better. That's what we want to do in Game 5, finish out the series."
The Warriors host the Nuggets in Game 5 at 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Chase Center. The winner of the series will face the No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies or No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round. That series is tied 2-2.