DENVER – On Damien Lillard’s record-breaking night when he was hitting one shot after another from the back of the arc and almost beyond belief, it was Michael Porter Jr. who quietly sank the biggest basket of all.
A 3-pointer from MPJ’s left corner barely hoisted the net with 1:33 in the second overtime and proved to be a game-winner as the Denver Nuggets made an epic comeback with a 147-140 win in the game Tuesday night by the Portland Trail Blazers of. 5 of their best seven playoff series.
“Best playoff performance I’ve ever seen,” said Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts.
“At this point, all that matters is that we can’t lose another game in the series,” Lillard nodded.
And he, for one, isn’t going to live up to his big night and an even greater disappointment.
“If I don’t put it behind me, and hold it, it’s going to get in the way of what we need to do in the next one,” Lillard said.
Lillard scored 17 of Portland’s 19 points in two overtimes, but did not score again after his 12th 3-pointer in 17 attempts kept the Blazers 140-138.
And his teammates didn’t score again either.
Nikola Jokic, who scored 38 points and came an assist shy of a triple-double, tied it with a lap at 140 and Porter broke the tie with 3 from the left corner, with 1:33 a sweet pass from Jokic. left.
The Blazers were still within three points – and Lillard’s range – until a pair of costly mistakes sent them back to Portland for Game 6 on Thursday night, leaving the Nuggets 3-2 in a best-of-seven series. gave.
First, Robert Covington missed a dunk with 41 seconds and then CJ McCallum went out of bounds with 9.1 seconds and Lillard set for another 3.
“It’s a shame we ruined one of the best performances of all time by not supporting him more,” McCallum said.
Monte Morris, who scored 28 points off the bench, struck to seal a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds, and Shaq Harrison added two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Lillard’s 3-pointer tied it at 121 with three seconds remaining in regulation, making a return of 22 points. His 3 with 6.4 seconds in the first overtime tied it to 135 and Portland’s return in the extra period was quickly reduced to nine points after Denver hit a trio of 3s.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, “We won and lost that game a number of times before we went through.” “… we never got down. Every time he threw a mower and landed us on the canvas, we got up and were finally able to pull it out.”
Porter, who finished with 26 points, said it wasn’t difficult to maintain composition as Lillard kept hitting the daggers to carry the game.
“It was 0-0. We knew there were only 5 minutes. We knew we couldn’t hang our heads,” Porter said. “It was a big game and we needed it.”
When Jokic’s precise pass found Porter in the left corner in the second overtime, “I said I had to prepare for that buzzer beater than a dem hit. I have to compensate,” Porter said.
He certainly did, and from April 2, 2008, Denver improved to 187–1 in games in which he led 22 or more at any point, including the postseason.
Jokic, who added 11 rebounds and nine assists, was amazed by Lillard’s performance.
“It was a pleasure to be on the court,” he said, “just to see it happen.”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone reacted strongly to the poor behavior of fans in the NBA, saying it “tarnishes the game.”
“People are doing stupid things. That’s my reaction. And it’s almost like it’s a copycat thing now: Who can unify the other person?” Malone said. “… I think some people are coming out of this COVID pandemic and maybe they’re themselves trying to express. But this is not the way to do it. Let the players play the game, enjoy the game and keep in your (back) seat, keep your water bottles on your lap and please don’t spit on any player or use any racist language.”
Trail Blazers: Lillard hit 17 of 24 shots from his 10-point performance on 1 of 10 shootings in Game 4, including 12 of 17 from long range and 9 of 10 from stripe.
Nuggets: Denver’s first basket of the second half came on the sting of Aaron Gordon at 9:51. … In the second quarter, in the three-second sequence, Jokic blocked successive shots by Norman Powell and Narkik. … in the extra periods, the Nuggets scored 5 for 7 for Portland’s 4 for 12.
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