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Portland waits a long time to win

Hood helps Blazers take 2-1 lead in series

The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — Rodney Hood checked back into the game, a fresh body among the weary ones all over the court.

Eager for postseason redemption after struggling in the playoffs last year, Hood got his chance Friday night.

All he had to do was wait until an NBA postseason record-tying fourth overtime.

Hood hit the key 3-pointer with 18.6 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 140-137 to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

Hood was a starter for Cleveland last season when the playoffs opened, but fell out of favor and refused to check into the final minutes of a blowout win over Toronto in the second round. He was acquired by the Blazers in a February trade.

“I didn’t give up. I didn’t give up on myself, just kept playing, kept working,” he said. “I had no idea that I’d end up in Portland in this type of situation. But to be here, to have my family in the crowd when I saw a lot of sad faces last go-round, to be here is very emotional for me, to be quite frank. A lot more basketball to go, though. A lot more basketball.”

It was just the second quadruple-overtime playoff game in NBA history, joining a 1953 game between the Boston Celtics and the Syracuse Nationals.

CJ McCollum matched his career playoff high with 41 points and Damian Lillard added 28 for Portland, which stretched its winning streak at home to 12 games dating back to the regular season.

Hood scored seven points in the final OT and helped the Blazers remain unbeaten at home this postseason.

Nikola Jokic had his third triple-double of the playoffs with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists, but missed a crucial free throw with 5.6 seconds to go. The 7-foot center played 65 minutes, two shy of the postseason record.

Jamal Murray had a playoff-high 34 points for the Nuggets. Game 4 is Sunday.

“We fought, we fought, we fought. That’s all you can ask for. Too many second-chance points too many turnovers, that was the difference in the game,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “But that was a hell of a basketball game by two very good basketball teams.”

Hood’s jumper tied the game at 133 with just over a minute left in the final overtime. Will Barton missed the first of two free throws for Denver before Hood added a baseline jumper. Paul Millsap’s hook shot with 27 seconds left gave the Nuggets the edge.

But Hood’s 26-foot 3-pointer gave Portland a 138-136 lead as time wound down. Jokic missed the first of two free throws for Denver and Seth Curry made free throws for the Blazers to close it out.

Hood finished with 19 points.

“Rodney Hood a huge impact on the game, and they went to him,” Malone said.

In the first overtime, McCollum’s layup tied it at 109 with 8.7 seconds left and Jokic missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer.

With the game knotted at 118 in the second overtime, Jokic missed a 3-pointer and a jump ball with 5.7 seconds left was grabbed by McCollum. Portland called a timeout with 4.1 seconds on the clock but Lillard missed a 3-point attempt as time ran out.

Rockets hold on in OT

HOUSTON — James Harden made a big 3-pointer in overtime and scored 41 points, and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Golden State Warriors 126-121 on Saturday night to cut the deficit in the Western Conference semifinals to 2-1.

A layup by P.J. Tucker put Houston up by three with about 2 minutes left and the Warriors missed shots on their next two possessions. That set up the 3-pointer by Harden with 49 seconds left that made it 124-118.

Kevin Durant made three free throws after that, but Harden added a layup to stretch the lead. Stephen Curry, who dislocated a finger in Game 2, missed a wide-open layup and Harden grabbed the rebound to secure Houston’s victory.

The Rockets withstood a 46-point performance from Durant and late surge by the Warriors to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Monday night in Houston.

Harden led the team despite recovering from injuries to both eyes he sustained in Game 2 when he was hit in the face by Draymond Green. He was feeling better on Saturday, but both eyes remained bloody red in spots.

Eric Gordon added a playoff career-high 30 points with a playoff-best seven 3-pointers for Houston.

Curry finished with 17 points after missing two layups in overtime. Green added 19 for the Warriors.

Houston was clinging to a one-point lead when Iguodala’s 3-pointer put Golden State up 112-110 with 45 seconds remaining in the fourth. Harden made two free throws a few seconds after that to tie it and Durant missed a jump shot on the other end to give Houston a chance to win it in regulation.

Chris Paul was in the lane when Klay Thompson forced a jump ball. Harden got the ball but didn’t have time to get a shot off before the buzzer to send it to overtime.

A dunk by Durant cut Houston’s lead to one midway through the fourth quarter, but Austin Rivers hit a 3-pointer for Houston soon after that to leave the Rockets up 108-104.

The Warriors regained the lead with about 3 1/2 minutes to go after five straight points by Thompson made it 109-108. But Paul put Houston back on top with two free throws soon after that.

The Warriors used a 15-2 run at the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth to take a 94-93 lead with about 10 minutes remaining. Durant was unstoppable in that stretch, scoring all 10 of Golden State’s points to start the fourth.

Tucker, Houston’s defensive stopper who had been on the bench with four fouls, re-entered the game to try and help slow Durant down.

Durant cooled off after that, but Iguodala and Thompson both made 3-pointers soon after that and the Warriors remained up by a point with about eight minutes left in the fourth.

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