In a game you had to see to believe, the Portland Trail Blazers somehow, someway outlasted the Denver Nuggets in four overtimes on Friday, escaping with a 140-137 Game 3 victory to take a 2-1 series lead. The four overtimes are tied for the longest game in NBA playoff history -- the first since 1953. And of all the stars in this series, the hero was?
Well, there were a lot of heroes. But Hood came in ice-cold off the bench to hit the eventual game-winning 3-pointer with less than 20 seconds to play, and now we have to wonder if Game 4 isn't a must-win game for Denver. Below are five takeaways from one of the wildest games you'll ever see.
Nikola Jokic played 65 minutes, people. SIXTY. FIVE. CJ McCollum played 60, Damian Lillard 58, Enes Kanter 56 with a partially separated shoulder, Jamal Murray 55, Gary Harris 50. Nine of the 10 starters played 45-plus minutes. And these were HARD minutes. I mean good heavens. Game 4 is less than 48 hours away, and it feels like a must-win for the Nuggets, who are on the heels of a seven-game series in the first round. Had this game been in the Denver altitude, there might've been bodies on the floor.
On both sides, the shot-making down the stretch of this game and through the overtimes was astonishing. McCollum, Murray, Lillard, Will Barton, everyone was trading blows on complete jelly legs. Portland is more accustomed to having to hit tough shots -- Lillard and McCollum make their living doing it -- but even by their standards these shots were wild. Everything off the dribble. Everything contested. We're talking step-backs, runners, teardrops, finishes through contact, 30-foot 3s, pull-ups -- everything in the book, and under the most intense playoff pressure on every single possession. That was an absolute treat. You legitimately might never see a game with that amount of shot-making again.
The M&M boys
That would be McCollum and Murray, who were both nothing short of sensational. Murray finished with 34 points, nine rebounds and five assists, but what was so impressive about his night was that he went cold for a long stretch, probably should've been looking to pass a bit more, and then boom -- when it was all on the line at the end of regulation, he steps up and without an ounce of hesitation and hits three monster shots that easily could've won the game for Denver. This guy is a gunslinger is the best way.
As for McCollum, I'm here to tell you: This dude is Kyrie Irving without the hype. There is nobody in the league as smooth with the ball in terms of creating space and razzle-dazzling defenders to death than McCollum, and his clutch shot-making is second to none. And that's not just this game. This guy, like Lillard, has been killing defenders for years and just doesn't get the love he deserves. McCollum scored 41 points -- 28 of which came from the fourth quarter through the final overtime. Look at this man going to work:
This man Rodney Hood sat on the bench for about four hours and then casually rolled -- or, actually, he hopped to get his legs under him -- into the game and pretty much won it for the Blazers, scoring seven points over the final 1:07 of the fourth overtime, including this stone-cold 3-pointer when the Blazers were down one with less than 20 seconds to play.
That is so big-time there's just nothing else to say.
Battle of the bigs
As mentioned above, Jokic played a mind-boggling 65 minutes. He posted 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists. He hit four 3-pointers. He is so good it's hard to put into words, but he ain't exactly in the best shape, and we'll have to see how he bounces back on the short turnaround for Game 4.
As for his counterpart, Kanter -- seriously, who's giving this guy a max deal this summer? I joke ... but only kind of. It is unbelievable how Kanter is playing, how hard he's battling on defense, how soft his touch is around the rim, how relentlessly he hits the boards, how fluid he is as a roll man. This guy is EVERYTHING to the Blazers right now. He finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds. He played 56 minutes with that bum shoulder that at times makes it look painful when he raises his arm. Hats off to Kanter, man. Just an incredible performance not just in this game, but in these entire playoffs and really from the time the Blazers signed him.
Recap of live updates
If you missed this wild game take a spin through our running blog below. If you are unable to view the live application below,.
No. 2 Denver Nuggets at No. 3 Portland Trail Blazers
How to watch Game 4
- Date: Sunday, May 5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- Location: Moda Center -- Portland, Oregon
- TV channel: TNT
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Online streaming: fuboTV (try it for free)
- Odds: N/A
All games will air on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV during the postseason. Games on TNT and NBA TV can be streamed via fuboTV (try it for free).
Odds and Analysis
Check Sportsline's NBA pick sheet for all your daily odds.
Who wins the 2019 NBA Finals? And which massive long shot can go all the way? Visit SportsLine now to see who you should back to win the NBA Finals, all from the proven model that is up more than $4,000 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.