Nikola Jokic gave everything he had until he had nothing left to give.
Not even a pair of made free throws.
After Rodney Hood made a 3-pointer to put the Trail Blazers up two, Jokic drew a foul with 5.6 seconds left in quadruple overtime. But Jokic split at the line, allowing the Trail Blazers to escape with a 140-137 victory in Game 3 Friday.
This was just the second quadruple-overtime playoff game in NBA history. The other: Boston Celtics-Syracuse Nationals Game 2 (of 2) in 1953.
Portland taking a 2-1 lead sets up even more basketball in this series. Teams without home-court advantage up 2-1 in a best-of-seven series have won it a very middling 62% of the time. A third of those series have gone seven games.
These exhausted teams will play Game 4 Sunday – 41 hours after tonight’s marathon ended.
Jokic played 65 minutes, including nearly 44 straight before those crucial free throws. Only Red Rocha (67), Paul Seymour (67) and Bob Cousy (66) – who played in that 1953 quadruple-overtime game – have higher single-playoff-game minute totals in the Basketball-Reference database. Jokic (33 points, 18 rebounds, 14 assists) looked gassed well before the end, and he wasn’t the only one.
C.J. McCollum played the final 32 minutes, and he came up huge with 28 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. He also offensively rebounded his own miss then assisted Hood’s go-ahead 3-pointer that preceded Jokic’s pressure-packed free throws:
This game had so many absurdities. Will Barton scored all 22 of his points in the fourth quarter and overtime. Both teams missed opportunities to call timeout and advance the ball for a game-winner in regulation. There were air-balled layups in overtime. Enes Kanter played 56 minutes on a brutal shoulder injury. Maurice Harkless played 25 straight minutes and 45 total after leaving Game with an ankle injury in Game 3.
Both teams showed a lot of heart in this instant classic.