History: four extensions, 65 minutes of Jokic ... and triumph of the Blazers in an epic match

The Blazers put the 1-2 in their favor after the first playoff game with four overtime in 66 years. Rodney Hood, unexpected hero.

The 2019 playoffs had completed 50 games, plus or minus one and a half rounds, without any overtime. And in the 51st, the third of the Blazers-Nuggets series (the first in Portland) they played four, more than the three totals of the 2017 playoffs and the same as in all of last season. Plus: it was the second game with four playoffs in the history of the playoffs and the first since March 21, 1953 (more than 66 years ago), when the Celtics won Syracuse Nationals (111-105), a franchise that was still a decade away from becoming the Sixers. Four years ago there were no two extensions in a duel in the playoffs (Bucks-Bulls in 2015) and six that were not played three (Bulls-Nets, 2013). More: Nikola Jokic played 64:58, almost 65 minutes and 44 of them in a row added the second part and the four extensions. Nobody played so much in a match since that of prehistory, in 1953, in which they were only on track more that the Serbian (67 both) Red Rocha and Paul Seymour, both of the Nationals, and Bob Cousy (66), of the Celtics. The record if Regular Season is added, by the way, has Dale Ellis: 69 minutes in the only game with five extensions of the modern age, a Bucks-Sonics of 1989.

and more: the match started at 7:46 and ended at 23:13 from Portland. In Spanish version, was closed at 08:13 in the morning and the fourth is played on Sunday night, at 01: 00. less than 41 hours later. So it was (by the way, the Blazers won 140-137) much more than a match, maybe such a huge battle, so bloody, that it actually decided the war: in less than 41 hours the Nuggets will play again at home to avoid a 1-3 almost decisive. They will do so with the mood down, the nerves destroyed and after those 65 minutes of Jokic, over 55 of Jamal Murray, about 50 of Gary Harris and Paul Millsap. It is hard not to think that this triumph has done much more than consolidate the field factor that the Blazers recovered in the second game ... but at the same time it is difficult not to at least grant the possibility that impossible things happen again. The Nuggets, frazzled, beaten in the soul and with a young and inexperienced team, have to escape from an absolutely deep pit, more (for survival) than the 1-2 and a quarter (in that the scenario is identical) that yes They raised against the Spurs in the first round. Perhaps this heroic party, this exhausting succession of epic hits and gross errors, was the hill on which its 2018-19 season died. On Monday morning and after the fourth we will have a much more accurate picture of the situation. Right now, it's enough to keep on standing.

24 changes of command, 18 draws

Because the Blazers also finished, of course, almost dead. But with the victory in his pocket: McCollum played 60 minutes, Lillard 58, Kanter 56 ... and Terry Stotts, the coach, came to the press conference saying he did not remember anything of what had happened during the regulation time and three first extensions. And what had happened had been a terrible duel, in which almost always played at minimum distances and which ended with 24 changes in the control of the scoreboard and 18 draws. In the regulation time Aminu failed and the Nuggets failed in the last possession, in the first overtime CJ McCollum tied with a lack of 8.7 seconds and Jokic failed a triple bottom, in the second nobody scored at the last minute and Lillard could not Once you run with the last ball in your hands; In the third Jamal Murray had the last triple after the Nuggets lost their great trick: 125-129 in the absence of only 32 seconds and before two baskets of Lillard and, among them, a dramatic loss of Murray himself after arbitration review. And in the fourth, finally, the Nuggets kept pushing and sent until 135-136 with 27 seconds left. Rodney Hood, relatively cool (bet almost to the strength of Stotts in that final stretch in which the court was a trail of corpses) scored a triple and seven total points in the, this time yes, last five minutes. The unexpected hero of a bloody war night. That's the playoffs ...

Nikola Jokic's damn free kick

With 138-136, after Hood's triple, Jokic (round 83% in his career) he had two free throws but one missed and there, less than six seconds from the end, the options of the Nuggets ended definitively. The pivot, blinded by extreme fatigue, had already added some losses over the extensions that would never commit with oxygen and the knees at normal levels. He finished, yes, with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists after an effort, in his way, absolutely titanic. Admirable. First for talent and then for volume in a match in whichneither Lillard, suffocated by the defense of Gary Harris, was fine (28 points, 4/11 in triples). The great constant and the executor (18 points) in the extensions was McCollum, who finished with 41 and the last fresh ideas when the match was a succession of rebounds of attack, players on the ground, unmarked faults, confusion and almost grotesque exchange of hits and mistakes. Murray tried everything (34 points, 5 assists), so much that he was wrong too, Barton put energy and experience Millsap ... but they could more the court factor, a couple of strokes, the talent of McCollum and the final appearance of Hood ... A game that was a thousand times about to put the 2-1 finally left a lethal appearance for a Nuggets that gave the sensation of losing a million times in a single night. With honor and excitement, but a million times.

Tomorrow, early in Oregon, will begin a fourth game that promises to be a real battle of survival until the Nuggets recover the minimum breath and minimal composure. It will not be easy but they have to look where they will think now that there is nothing, because if a win would have allowed them to think more about the fifth game, back in Denver, this terrifying defeat leaves them forced to get off the canvas in record time and with his big star, the wonderful Jokic fondón, decomposed after having played two games in one, 44 minutes in a row and almost 65 totals to end up having to ruminate a damn free-throw after almost 4 hours of basketball. It is the hardest still and it will be tomorrow, less than 41 hours after one of the biggest dramas (in eight acts, four quarters and four extensions) of the history of the playoffs.

Photos from as.com
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