Blazers Best Nuggets In Quadruple Overtime Thriller To Take 2-1 Series Lead

by Casey Holdahl
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PORTLAND -- The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets needed four quarters and four overtimes to decide which team would take a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference Semifinal series.

The Trail Blazers got seven points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field and 1-of-1 shooting from three from Rodney Hood in the final two minutes in a marathon of a game to come away with a 140-137 quadruple overtime victory in Game 3 in front of a sellout crowd of 20,193 Friday night at the Moda Center.

"I have no idea what happened in the first half or the second half or the first three overtimes," said Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts, though he could have been talking about the entirety of Rip City. "Rodney Hood came in and played great. It was a hell of a game. I've never been involved in a game like that, regular season or playoffs, but it was an amazing effort by both teams.

The Trail Blazers now own a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 to be played Sunday afternoon at the Moda Center.

After 48 minutes of knock down, drag out basketball between two teams determined not to give an inch, the Trail Blazers and Nuggets entered their first overtime tied at 102-102. Five minutes later, the Blazers and Nuggets went into a second overtime after both teams scored seven points to tie the game at 109-109.

But after the Blazers scored five-straight, capped by a Lillard three-pointer with 2:50 to play in the second OT, it looked as though the home team might get the win before the start of a third extra period. The Nuggets responded as they would do nearly all night, with five-straight of their own to time the game at 116-116 with just under two minutes to play in the second overtime. CJ McCollum made a 18-foot stepback jumper to reclaim the advantage, but Gary Harris answered with a reverse layup to tie the game at 118-118, and on the game went into a third overtime.

Then it was the Nuggets turn to play the role of the team that looks as if they'd end the game on top. After Portland took a four-point lead after a McCollum three with 2:53 to play in the third overtime, the Nuggets scored eight-straight to take a 129-125 advantage with 32.2 seconds to go in what looked like the last overtime.

But that would not be the case. Damian Lillard, who had struggled from the field for most of the game, scored on a driving layup, and on the ensuing possession, McCollum managed to knock the ball away from Jamal Murray on the sideline. The ball was initially awarded to the Nuggets, but on review, the call was overturned, giving Portland the ball with 19.2 seconds to play and a chance to tie or win the game.

The did the former, with Lillard once again driving for the layup to knot the game at 129-129. The Nuggets had a chance to get the win with 8.4 seconds left on the clock, but Murray's 31-footer was well off, sending the game to a fourth overtime, making it just the second four-overtime playoff game in NBA history.

That's when it was Hood's time to shine. After both coaches opted to stick with their starters for the vast majority of the firs three overtimes, Stotts inserted Hood into the game for Moe Harkless, who he said was starting to cramp up after playing almost 45 minutes on a sprained right ankle. Hood came in, scored on back-to-back possessions by posting up Murray and then made a three-pointer off a feed from McCollum, who rebounded his own miss, to give Portland a 138-136 lead with 18.6 seconds to play.

"We were kind of struggling to get some baskets in the fourth overtime," said Hood. "I had fresh legs, and me in the post, I can really matchup against anybody. I got my first bucket to go down and Coach kept going to me, and then CJ is a hell of a player getting rebounds. So I think that's the big thing that we talk about is just trusting each other.

The Nuggets still had a chance to tie the game after Nikola Jokic was awarded two free throws with 5.6 seconds to play, but the All-Star center missed the first attempt. He made the second rather than missing intentionally, preserving a one-point lead for the Blazers. From there, all Portland needed to do was inbound the the ball in the hands of one of their better free throw shooters. Seth Curry got the honor and was fouled with 2.8 seconds to play. He made both free throws, and with the Nuggets out of timeouts, they had to inbound the ball full court for even the possibility of sending the game to a fifth overtime.

But it thankfully wasn't to be. Paul Millsap's pass was intercepted by McCollum, who threw the ball in the air as time expired.

"I just remember, I think it was maybe the third overtime, we was down four with 30 seconds left and I was just like, I know it's not a lot of time, we're probably going to have to foul, something is going to have to work out because I started thinking about how I would feel when I got home tonight. I was just like, we just can't have this right now. I'm sure everybody was thinking that same way, about how they would feel if they went home tonight and knew that we left this game out there and didn't take care of business. We got it done.

TOP PERFORMERS

CJ McCollum scored a game-high 41 points (16-39 FG, 4-11 3-PT, 5-6 FT) to go with eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block. McCollum scored 28 of his points in the fourth quarter and over-time periods. His 41 points matched the highest-scoring postseason game of his career (41, 4/16/17 at GSW). McCollum played 60 minutes, setting a franchise record for minutes played in a postseason game.

Damian Lillard finished with 28 points (10-24 FG, 2-9 3-PT, 6-6 FT), six rebounds, eight assists and two steals in 58 minutes. He has scored at least 28 points in six of the eight games this postseason.

Enes Kanter had a double-double of 18 points (8-16 FG, 1-1 3-PT, 1-1 FT) and 15 rebounds to go with three steals and one block. It was his first double-double of the series and his third of the postseason.• Rodney Hood scored a postseason career-high 19 points (6-8 FG, 2-3 3-PT, 5-7 FT) to go with two rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes off the bench. He scored seven of his points in the final 1:45 of the fourth overtime. He has reached double figure scoring in three straight playoff games for the first time in his career.

Maurice Harkless recorded 15 points (6-14 FG, 1-5 3-PT, 2-3 FT), 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal and two blocks in 45 minutes. It was his second double-double of the postseason.

Zach Collins recorded eight points (3-7 FG, 1-3 3-PT, 1-1 FT) and a postseason career-high eight rebounds to go with two assists, one steal and one block in 18 minutes off the bench.

Nikola Jokic recorded 33 points (13-25 FG, 4-7 3-PT, 3-5 FT), 18 rebounds, 14 assists, one steal and two blocks in 65 minutes. Only three players in NBA history have played more minutes in a postseason game. Jamal Murray scored a postseason career-high 34 points (14-32 FG, 4-12 3-PT, 2-2 FT) to go with nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 55 minutes.

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NOTABLE

• Portland and Denver played the second quadruple-overtime game in NBA Playoffs history. The Boston Celtics defeated the Syracuse Nationals, 111-105, in quadruple-overtime on March 21, 1953.

• The Trail Blazers improved to 2-1 in their best-of-seven series against the Nuggets. It is the first series lead Portland has had in the Western Conference Semifinals since 2000. Portland won that series over Utah, 4-1.

• The Trail Blazers improved to 4-0 at home during the 2019 Playoffs. The Trail Blazers have won 12 straight games at Moda Center dating back to March 9.

• Portland’s 140 points mark the second-most points the team has scored in a playoff game in franchise history [153, 5/11/92 at Pho (2ot)].

• Both teams recorded 24 offensive rebounds. Portland scored 25 second chance points while the Nuggets had 19 second chance points.

• Portland scored 29 points off of 21 Denver turnovers while the Nuggets scored 17 points off of 14 Trail Blazers turnovers.

• The Trail Blazers shot 24-of-28 from the free-throw-line (85.7%) while the Nuggets shot 14-of-20 from the stripe.

QUOTABLE

"I live for moments like this. This is what I work for. This is what I work for all summer. This is what I work my whole life to get to this point. To be out there and to be able to play. Like I said with one ankle or two, leave everything all on the floor." -- Moe Harkless

NEXT UP

With Game 3 finally in the books, both teams can look forward to roughly 36 hours of rest before returning to the Moda Center Sunday afternoon for Game 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. on TNT

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