Basketball / NBA

Blazers outlast Nuggets in epic 4OT game

AFP-JIJI, AP

CJ McCollum delivered 41 points as the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Denver Nuggets 140-137 in four overtimes Friday in the longest NBA playoff game in 66 years.

The game featured 24 lead changes but the Blazers came out on top to take a 2-1 lead in the second round Western Conference series.

“I have never been involved in a game like that in regular season or playoffs,” said Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts. “It was an amazing effort by both teams.”

It was just the second quadruple-overtime playoff game in NBA history, joining a 1953 game between the Boston Celtics and the Syracuse Nationals.

Damian Lillard added 28 points for Portland, which can go up 3-1 with a victory in Game 4 at home on Sunday.

“That was the craziest game I have ever been a part of,” said Lillard.

Jamal Murray scored 34 points, and Nikola Jokic collected 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists for the Nuggets, who used their inside game to keep the score close in the extra sessions.

“We fought, we fought, we fought. That’s all you can ask for. It was a hell of basketball game by two very good basketball teams,” Denver coach Mike Malone said.

McCollum played over 60 minutes and connected on 16 of 39 field goals as he went on a run in the fourth quarter and the beginning of the first overtime. He said he wasn’t tired.

“This is what I am built for,” said McCollum. “This is why I condition all summer. That is why I work on my diet. That is why I get my sleep and my massages.

“This is what we live for. We got to get some sleep and take advantage of our time. They are coming off a seven-game series and so we will see them in a couple of days.”

Jokic also logged massive minutes, playing a historic 65, the most ever by a 7-footer (213-cm player or taller) in the playoffs.

Will Barton made one of two free throws, giving the Nuggets a 134-133 lead with one minute left in the fourth overtime. Rodney Hood’s baseline jumper then put Portland in front 135-134 with 44 seconds to go.

Paul Millsap’s layup gave Denver a 136-135 lead with 27 seconds to play.

Hood nailed a shot from beyond the arc to give the Blazers a 138-136 lead with 17 seconds remaining.

Jokic had a chance to tie it but missed one of two free throws to make it 138-137 with five seconds on the clock.

Portland’s Seth Curry then nailed a pair of clutch free throws for a 140-137 lead with 2.8 seconds left. Denver’s feeble attempt at a long inbounds pass was intercepted and the clock ran out.

Bucks 123, Celtics 116

In Boston, Giannis Antetokounmpo kept attacking and the Celtics kept fouling.

The fouls may have slowed the second half of Game 3, but nothing could stop Antetokounmpo from putting together a signature performance in TD Garden.

Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 13 rebounds, George Hill finished with 21 points and Milwaukee topped Boston to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

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