DENVER — On Damian Lillard's record-breaking night when he was hitting one shot after another from behind the arc and almost beyond belief, it was Michael Porter Jr. who quietly sank the biggest basket of all.
MPJ's 3-pointer from the left corner barely fluttered the net with 1:33 left in the second overtime and proved the game-winner as the Denver Nuggets squelched an epic comeback by the Portland Trail Blazers with a 147-140 win Tuesday night in Game 5 of their best-of-seven playoff series.
“That’s what playoff basketball is," Porter said after the thriller that included a dozen lead changes and 11 ties, including long 3s by Lillard that forced overtime and the second OT.
Lillard's night included a franchise playoff record 55 points and NBA playoff record 12 3-pointers. He eclipsed the mark of 11 set by Golden State’s Klay Thompson at Oklahoma City on May 28, 2016.
“It was the best playoff performance I’ve ever seen," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.
"At this point, all that matters is we can’t lose another game in the series,” Lillard shrugged.
And he, for one, isn't going to dwell on his big night and even bigger letdown.
“If I don’t put it behind me, and hold onto 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 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 off a sweet pass from Jokic.