In one of the most electrifying postseason performances ever, Damian Lillard had 55 points and an NBA playoff record 12 3-pointers in the Portland Trail Blazers‘ double-overtime loss to the Nuggets in Game 5 on Tuesday night in Denver.
Lillard played 52 minutes and shot 17-of-24 from the field, including 12-of-17 from 3-point range, but it wasn’t enough. The Nuggets held him off in the second overtime and won 147-140 to take a 3-2 series lead.
“Damian Lillard was superhuman tonight,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.
The record-breaking 3 came with 3 minutes, 47 seconds left in double overtime as Lillard bombarded the Nuggets with a series of deep step-backs to keep the Blazers in the game. He hit one to tie the score with 3.7 seconds in regulation, which came after a review overturned a foul on a 3 that would’ve given Lillard three free throws. He hit another over the 6-foot-10 Michael Porter Jr. in the first overtime with 6.6 seconds to tie the score again and force the second extra frame.
That one completed a nine-point comeback in the final two minutes, all led by Lillard.
Lillard finished with 10 assists and one turnover, making him just the second player with 55 points, 10 assists and zero or 1 turnover in a regular season or playoff game since individual turnovers were first tracked in 1977-78, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Michael Jordan did it on Dec. 23, 1992.
Lillard also scored or assisted on 80 points on Tuesday night, tied for the most in a playoff game in NBA history, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
It was quite the bounce-back for Lillard, who scored just 10 points on 1-of-10 shooting in Game 4. But the Blazers blew Denver out in Game 4 behind a strong defensive performance and balanced scoring.
In Game 5, Portland couldn’t find answers for likely MVP Nikola Jokic, who finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists, and a stronger bench performance led by Monte Morris (28 points and 5 assists).
The series returns to Portland on Thursday for Game 6.
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