PORTLAND • At the end of the nearly 31/2-hour game that saw 24 lead changes, Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts was left in awe and his Denver Nuggets counterpart Michael Malone called it an "instant classic".
C.J. McCollum delivered a game-high 41 points in the Blazers' 140-137 win after four overtime periods on Friday in the longest National Basketball Association play-off game in 66 years.
"I have never been involved a game like that in regular season or the play-offs," said Stotts after his team took a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference semi-final series at the Moda Centre. "It was an amazing effort by both teams."
Malone added: "It was almost like - when is this game going to end? It just kept on going and going and going.
"If I was at home watching this game tonight, I would've been glued to my TV.
"This was a great basketball game. Wasn't pretty at all times. But the effort, the competitive spirit from both groups was outstanding."
This is what I am built for. This is why I condition all summer. That is why I work on my diet...This is what we live for.
C.J. MCCOLLUM, Portland Trail Blazers guard, after playing 60 minutes in the four-overtime win over Denver Nuggets.
It was just the second quadruple-overtime play-off game in NBA history, after Boston Celtics-Syracuse Nationals in 1953.
Damian Lillard added 28 points for Portland who can go 3-1 up after Game 4 at home today.
Jamal Murray scored 34 points while Nikola Jokic had 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists for Denver as he logged a massive 65 minutes - the most in the play-offs since Bob Cousy's 66 for Boston in 1953.
McCollum played 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. But he said he was not tired.
"This is what I am built for," said the guard. "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."
Will Barton made one of two free throws to give Denver a 134-133 lead with a 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 lay-up gave the Nuggets a 136-135 lead with 27sec to play. Hood nailed a shot from beyond the arc to give Portland a 138-136 lead with 17sec remaining.
Jokic missed one of two free throws to make it 138-137 with 5sec on the clock.
Portland's Seth Curry then nailed a pair of clutch free throws for a 140-137 lead with 2.8sec left. Denver's feeble attempt at a long inbound pass was intercepted and the clock ran out.
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 over the Celtics in their semi-final series.