Michael Porter Jr.’s 3-pointer with 1:33 left in the second overtime helped the Denver Nuggets squelch an epic comeback by the Portland Trail Blazers with a 147-140 win Tuesday night in Game 5 of the playoff series.
Lillard scored 17 of Portland’s 19 points in the two overtimes, but he didn’t score again after his 12th 3-pointer in 17 attempts put the Blazers ahead 140-138 with 3:47 left.
And his teammates didn’t score again, either.
Nikola Jokic, who scored 38 points and came one assist shy of a triple-double, tied it at 140 with a layup and Porter broke the tie with a 3 from the left corner with 1:33 left.
First, Robert Covington missed a dunk with 41 seconds left and then CJ McCollum stepped out of bounds with 9.1 seconds left and Lillard setting up for another 3.
Monte Morris, who scored 28 points off the bench, hit a pair of free throws with 8.8 seconds to seal it, and Shaq Harrison added two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Lillard broke his own franchise scoring record, a 50-point outburst against Oklahoma City on April 23, 2019.
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Lillard’s 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation tied it at 121. His 3 with 6.4 seconds left in the first overtime tied it at 135 and that capped Portland’s comeback from a quick nine-point deficit in the extra period after Denver hit a trio of 3s.
The Nuggets made three quick 3-pointers in the first overtime, two by Morris and another by Austin Rivers, to surge ahead 132-123. Portland missed its first five long balls in the extra period before Lillard sank three in the final minute to force a second overtime.
By holding on, Denver improved to 187-1 in games since April 2, 2008, in which they led at any point by 22 or more, including the postseason.
Suns destroy Davis-less Lakers
Devin Booker scored 30 points after two quiet games and the Phoenix Suns sent LeBron James to the locker room early, dismantling the Los Angeles Lakers 115-85 Tuesday night to take a 3-2 first-round series lead.
Davis was out after suffering a groin injury in Game 4 and the Suns took advantage by attacking every chance they had. The Lakers put up little resistance, allowing Phoenix to score nearly at will while building a 30-point halftime lead — Los Angeles’ largest halftime deficit in 25 years.
The Suns made 14 3-pointers and had just four turnovers against the NBA’s regular-season defensive efficiency leader.
The only bad news: point guard Chris Paul took a shot to his injured right shoulder in the third quarter and did not return.
James scored 17 of his 24 points in the third quarter, but couldn’t rally the listless Lakers. The four-time league MVP sat at the end of the bench by himself in the fourth quarter before heading to the locker room with about five minutes left.
Game 6 is Thursday in Los Angeles
The series between one-time rivals has been shaped by injuries.
The Suns won the first game in the desert despite Paul injuring his shoulder. Los Angeles won the next two with Paul ailing, then Phoenix took Game 4 102-94 in Los Angeles after Davis went down with a groin injury.
The Suns took advantage of Davis’ absence early in Game 5, repeatedly getting into the lane for shots or kickouts for open looks.
Booker was the biggest beneficiary.
He had been relatively quite the previous two games — at least for one of the league’s top scorers — scoring a combined 36 points on 11-of-24 shooting. Phoenix’s young All-Star came out firing in the pivotal game of the series, scoring 18 points in the first quarter and hitting a corner jumper to put the Suns up 18 early in the second.
Nets finish off Celtics
James Harden had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first postseason triple-double with Brooklyn, leading the Nets into the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 123-109 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night in Game 5.
Despite their limited time together during the regular season, the Nets’ three superstars showed how potent they can be in this series, particularly when they combined for 104 points in Game 4.
Brooklyn was nowhere near as potent as that game, when it rang up 141 points. But a little explosive stretch here and there was good enough to wrap it up.
The finishing one came with the Celtics trailing by just eight with under eight minutes to play. Durant then made a 3-pointer, Jayson Tatum turned it over and Irving nailed another 3 on the break, pushing it to 103-89 with 7:19 to play.
Tatum had 32 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who made the Eastern Conference finals last year but went quickly with Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker unavailable.
Fournier added 18 points and Romeo Langford had 17 starting in place of Walker, who missed his second straight game with a knee injury.
The Nets were eager to avoid a return to Boston after a fan threw a water bottle at Irving after Game 4, but the clincher didn’t come easily.
The Celtics hung in the game, not letting the Nets build a double-digit lead until a 7-0 burst early in the second half made it 66-54. Boston recovered and trailed just 86-79 after Tatum made a jumper at the buzzer to end the third.
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