NBA fans around the country were blessed–if they managed to stay awake–with an all-time playoff classic on Friday night, as the Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Denver Nuggets 140-137 in four overtimes to take a 2-1 series lead in their Western Conference semifinal.
The contest featured some wonderful individual performances, with Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum pouring in 41 points and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic racking up a ridiculous triple-double with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists in a game-high 65 minutes played. So much for the concerns regarding his conditioning.
Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood picked a good time to find his clutch gene, scoring seven of his 19 points in the fourth overtime.
Still, the Nuggets had a chance to tie the game at 138 apiece, but Jokic missed the first of two free throws, and the Trail Blazers would wrap things up with a pair of free throws and a steal.
Another inspiring performance came from Portland center Enes Kanter, who scored 18 points and grabbed 15 boards in 56 minutes while continuing to battle through a separated shoulder.
After the game, the Twitterverse took to criticizing Jokic for an apparent cheap shot aimed directly at Kanter’s left shoulder. Kanter himself tweeted out the video clip, imploring the league to take a second look at what looks like a blatant move on Jokic’s part:
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 4, 2019
Kanter would later tweet out a picture of him receiving treatment on the injured shoulder with the caption “Whatever it freaking takes #RipCity:”
The Nuggets had taken exception to Kanter making contact with Denver forward Torrey Craig–dealing with a nasal contusion–in Game 2, even though Jokic clearly pushed Kanter into Craig.
This battle in the trenches is only going to get more intriguing heading into Game 4.