CJ McCollum matched his career playoff high with 41 points, Rodney Hood hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 18.6 seconds left in the NBA postseason record-tying fourth overtime and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 140-137 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
It was the second quadruple-overtime playoff game in NBA history, joining a 1953 game between the Boston Celtics and the Syracuse Nationals.
McCollum scored 28 points after the third quarter and Damian Lillard added 28 in the game for Portland, which stretched its winning streak at home to 12 games dating back to the regular season. Hood came off the bench to score seven points in the final OT and help the Blazers remain unbeaten at home this postseason.
Nikola Jokic had his third triple-double of the playoffs with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists, but missed a crucial free throw with 5.6 seconds to go. The 7ft center played 65 minutes, two shy of the postseason record.
Jamal Murray had a playoff-high 34 points for the Nuggets.
Game 4 is Sunday.
Hood’s jumper re-tied the game at 133 with just over a minute left in the final overtime. Will Barton missed the first of two free throws for Denver before Hood added a baseline jumper. Paul Millsap’s hook shot with 27 seconds left gave the Nuggets the edge.
But Hood’s three-pointer gave Portland a 138-136 lead as time wound down. Jokic missed the first of two free throws for Denver and Seth Curry made free throws for the Blazers to close it out.
Hood finished with 19 points.
Denver pulled in front 97-95 with under 3 minutes left in regulation. Lillard’s floater with 31 seconds left gave Portland a 102-100 lead, before Barton’s layup tied it. Al-Farouq Aminu missed a three-pointer for Portland with 6.7 seconds to go.
In the first overtime, McCollum’s layup tied it at 109 with 8.7 seconds left and Jokic missed an off-balance three-pointer at the buzzer.
With the game knotted at 118 in the second overtime, Jokic missed a three-pointer and a jump ball with 5.7 seconds left was grabbed by McCollum. Portland called a timeout with 4.1 seconds on the clock but Lillard missed a three-point attempt as time ran out.
Millsap’s jumper with 32 seconds left gave the Nuggets a 129-125 lead in the third overtime, but Lillard’s bank shot closed the gap and he added a layup that re-tied it again with 8.4 seconds left.
The Blazers, in the conference semifinals since 2016, have won the last two games after second-seeded Denver’s victory in Game 1.
Maurice Harkless started for the Blazers after rolling his ankle in the second quarter of Game 2 and sitting out the rest of the way.
Torrey Craig was also day-to-day but started for Denver, wearing a clear mask after his nose was bloodied in Wednesday’s game.
Murray struggled with what looked like a right thigh injury that he tried to remedy by riding an exercise bike during Game 2, but it didn’t appear to be bothering him Friday and he led all scorers with 16 points in the opening half.
Portland led by as many as 10 points in the opening half but the Nuggets pulled in front 38-37 on Murray’s running three-pointer. Portland went into the break with just a 48-47 edge.
The Nuggets went ahead early in the second half. Enes Kanter, who at times rubbed the shoulder he hurt in the final first-round game against the Thunder, hit a three-pointer followed by a layup and a free throw to tie the game at 62 and slow Denver’s momentum.
Bucks 123, Celtics 116
Giannis Antetokounmpo kept attacking and the Boston 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 the Milwaukee Bucks beat Boston 123-116 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Khris Middleton added 20 points.
Antetokounmpo had only 13 field goal attempts but had 16 points from the free throw line in a game that featured 53 total fouls called – 39 in the second half. Including Milwaukee’s two regular-season games in Boston, Antetokounmpo has scored 30 or more points in each of his trips to TD Garden in 2018-19.
“I’m just gonna keep being aggressive. That’s what my teammates want me to do,” Antetokounmpo said. “If I have to take it all the way, I’ll take it all the way.”
Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and Jayson Tatum had 20 for the Celtics, who host Game 4 on Monday.
Boston led by a point at the half but was outscored 40-31 in the third quarter and trailed by as many as 17 points in the final period.
The Celtics were also outscored 52-24 in the paint and had 18 turnovers leading to 28 Milwaukee points.
Irving acknowledged the fouls did slow down the game and stunt Boston’s efforts late.
“It’s getting ridiculous at this point,” Irving said, using an expletive to describe the lulls the fouls created.
The Bucks threw the Celtics a tactical curveball in Game 2, inserting Nikola Mirotic into the starting lineup in place of Sterling Brown.
In Game 3 it was Celtics coach Brad Stevens who brought new wrinkles, notably going with a small lineup that featured 6-foot-7 Semi Ojeleye guarding the 6-11 Antetokounmpo when he returned to the game at the start of the second quarter and again in the third quarter.
Boston also kept going at Antetokounmpo throughout the game when it had the ball. It included a one-handed dunk by Jaylen Brown over the Bucks’ starearly in the third quarter that brought the Celtics fans inside TD Garden to their feet. It was reminiscent of a two-handed dunk he had over Antetokounmpo in Boston’s Game 1 win.
Friday’s version complemented several nice defensive plays by Brown, including blocking a Tony Snell lay-up attempt off the backboard.
Still, Milwaukee managed to keep racking up points in the paint. The Bucks led by as many as 12 in the third quarter and took a 95-87 lead into the fourth.
That was the score when Brown was called for his fifth foul with 10:53 left on what appeared to be a light touch of Eric Bledsoe near the baseline. It brought animated protests from both Brown and Stevens. A few trips later, Tatum received a technical for protesting his foul of Antetokounmpo.
Stevens said he didn’t think his team was overly frustrated by the foul calls.
“I just think ultimately they made a lot of plays in that quarter and we didn’t,” he said.
The Bucks started to rack up points at the line and their lead grew to 114-97 by the time Brown came back into the game with 4:53 remaining.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo is hard to stop when he’s this locked in to finding ways to score and get his teammates involved.
“He’s just such a force. He can get through cracks,” Budenholzer said. “He’s going to finish or get to the free throw line a lot if he keeps playing like this.”