Basketball: Blazers pull out 4OT win in longest NBA play-off game since 1953

Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (right) maneuvering his way to the basket during the game against Denver Nuggets.
Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (right) maneuvering his way to the basket during the game against Denver Nuggets.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - C.J. McCollum delivered 41 points as the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Denver Nuggets 140-137 in four overtimes on Friday (May 3) in the longest NBA play-off 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 National Basketball Association Western Conference semi-final series.

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

It was just the second four-overtime play-off game in NBA history, after a 1953 game between the Boston Celtics and the Syracuse Nationals.

Damian Lillard added 28 points for Portland who host Game 4 on Sunday.

"That was the craziest game I have ever been a part of," he said.

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," said Denver coach Mike Malone.

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 seven-footer in the play-offs.

In Boston, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Milwaukee to a 123-116 victory that put the Bucks 2-1 up in their play-off series against the Celtics.

The top-seeded Bucks scored 40 points in the third quarter and pulled away for a victory that saw them regain home court advantage in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series, in which they were stung at home in Game 1.

"I'm just trusting myself, I just have confidence in myself," said Milwaukee's Most Valuable Player candidate Antetokounmpo, who added eight assists and three blocked shots. "That's what my teammates want me to do.

"They want me to stay aggressive, they want me to make the right play - that's what I'm going to keep doing the whole series."

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 29 points.