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BC-BKN--Nuggets-Trail Blazers,1st Ld-Writethru

May 4, 2019
AP Sports Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — CJ McCollum matched his career playoff high with 41 points, Rodney Hood hit a go-ahead 3-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 7-foot 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 3-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 3-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 3-pointer at the buzzer.

With the game knotted at 118 in the second overtime, Jokic missed a 3-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 3-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 3-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 3-pointer followed by a layup and a free throw to tie the game at 62 and slow Denver’s momentum.

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Denver was 3-1 over the Blazers in the regular season. ... Gary Harris fouled out with just over a minute left in the third overtime. Red Rocha and Paul Seymour of Syracuse set the NBA record by playing 67 minutes in the March 21, 1953, quadruple-OT game in Boston.

Trail Blazers: The Blazers showed Lillard’s 37-foot shot that clinched the first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder before the game and the crowd at the Moda Center against cheered. ... Portland was 32-9 at home in the regular season.

MAN IN THE MASK: The Nugget called Craig’s injury a nasal contusion. The clear mask he donned was from a previous injury.

Coach Michael Malone said he doesn’t think the mask impacts him at all.

“Obviously I don’t think it’s comfortable. I don’t think it’s something that he prefers,” Malone said. “But with the injury that he sustained and the bleeding, and the fact that this is similar to another injury that he incurred, it’s being really preventative and making sure it doesn’t get any worse. Torrey’s one of those guys, he makes no excuses. He’s a tough kid.”

UP NEXT

Game 4 is set for Sunday in Portland.