We have that and more in Saturday’s NBA newsletter.
Wow. For the first time since 1953, when basketball was played with dinosaur eggs and players wore huaraches woven from local ferns, an NBA playoff game went for four overtimes. The Blazers and Nuggets refused (or were unable) to beat each other until 68 minutes of game time had elapsed. Thank goodness it was a Friday! (The Blazers won, by the way.)
There was a lot to appreciate in this bonkers game. Here are the five most wild tidbits.
1. Nikola Jokic, the poor fellow, played 65 minutes.
An hour and five minutes. This included the entire second half and all but the final three seconds of the overtimes. In fact, he played every second of game time from the 9:52 mark of the second quarter until the 0:03 mark of the fourth overtime. That’s about 54 straight minutes of game time, which just halftime, timeouts, and the quarter and overtime breaks for rest. For one of the largest players in the league. This tweet says it all.
Jokic might be in shape by the end of this game.
— Denver Stiffs (@denverstiffs) May 4, 2019
Let’s not sell the other ironmen short, either: C.J. McCollum played an hour, Damian Lillard played for 58 minutes, Jamal Murray went 55, Moe Harkless went 45 minutes after being listed as questionable on Thursday with an ankle sprain, and Enes Kanter played 56 minutes despite a separated shoulder. Tough hombres.
2. Only one player — Gary Harris — fouled out.
One of the usual problems with extremely long games is that the NBA does not give extra fouls in overtime for players, so those who play big minutes tend to foul out. But only Harris, who often checked Damian Lillard (and did so effectively) fouled out in this game. (It probably cost the Nuggets the game in the long run as Lillard got to the hoop a couple times late.) The refs had some, ah, moments, but they did let the teams play.
3. The game inceptioned itself.
ESPN2 was scheduled to run a replay of Blazers-Nuggets at 2 a.m. ET. So it did start replaying the game … even though the game was still going on over on ESPN!
ESPN2 doing a rerun of the game currently in play on ESPN
— Dripper Dale (@imBINGnotGOOGLE) May 4, 2019
The game ended at about 2:08 a.m. ET.
4. The previous game at Moda Center in Portland … was the game Dame won the series on a 37-foot buzzer beater and waved goodbye to the Thunder!
These fans are blessed.
5. The game was won by Rodney freaking Hood.
Terry Stotts made a brilliant coaching decision by bringing in a relatively fresh Hood in the fourth overtime. Everyone else on the court looked like extras from The Walking Dead. Not Hood. He ended up scoring seven of the Blazers’ final nine points, including a dagger three.
RODNEY. HOOD. Blazers win it in QUADRUPLE OVERTIME (via @NBA) pic.twitter.com/8gu6H5ImZj
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) May 4, 2019
Mt. Hood, y’all.
Game 4 is Sunday. We’re waiting for word on whether the NBA will allow these players to use I.V. drips in-game.
Bucks 123, Celtics 116
Milwaukee leads series 2-1
Nuggets 137, Blazers 140 (4OT)
Portland leads series 2-1
Warriors at Rockets, 8:30 ET, ABC
Golden States leads series 2-0
Giannis Antetokounmpo had his best playoff performance ever by attacking relentlessly and leading the Bucks to a key victory. The Celtics got called for a bunch of fouls in the third quarter, upsetting their players and fans. Giannis was No. 2 in the NBA in free throw attempts this season. Seems like it’s not really outside the bounds of normalcy to see him at the line a lot?
The Suns hired Monty Williams. The Bulls extended Jim Boylen. It looks like the Lakers will go with Ty Lue.
Very cool John Havlicek tribute video from the Celtics.
Jackie MacMullan alert. Jackie MacMullan alert.
Joel Embiid has become pretty much unstoppable in the pick and roll against Toronto (THERE IS NO ANSWER FOR EMBIID), and Tobias Harris is turning into the glue guy Philadelphia wanted. This Game 4 on Sunday is monumental for both teams.
Looking closer at how Stephen Curry defends James Harden.
The internet’s Zito Madu on beauty and the internet’s problem with Harden.
Everyone has a story to tell about Mike Brown.
Scott Cacciola infiltrates the Rockets’ bench.
The Basketball Champions League final is here! Mario Chalmers is involved!
Giannis is now the pride of a Greece that shunned him.
And finally: a beautiful piece from Kevin O’Connor on basketball and his father.
Be excellent to each other.