Jaynes: Blazers win "Instant Classic" but there was nothing instant about it

Long-distance shots made by Damian Lillard in the first round of the NBA Playoffs

Long-distance shots made by Damian Lillard in the first round of the NBA Playoffs

Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday in Portland.

First and foremost, it marked the return of basketball to Portland for the first time since Damian Lillard single-handedly attempted to detonate the Blazers' home arena with a series-ending dagger.

Of course, a head coaching job in the National Basketball Association might qualify as "miraculous" for a former point guard who excelled in EuroLeague competition and also had a chance to compete with the Indiana Pacers (2005-07) and Golden State Warriors (2007).

Jokic's marathon effort in a losing cause saw him play 64 minutes and 58 seconds, the most in a playoff game since that classic 66 years ago. The Denver Nuggets had a awful shooting performance on Wednesday night, making 20 percent on 3-pointers, 34 percent from the field and 61 percent from the free-throw line. The Nuggets committed a costly turnover at the end of the first overtime that set up a game-tying runner by McCollum, they committed a turnover at the end of the second overtime before they could attempt a potential game-winning shot, and they blew a four-point lead in the final 30 seconds of the third overtime with another turnover. It's the Blazers first since Game 4 of the 2016 conference semifinals.

"It was an wonderful effort by both teams".

"I think Torrey Craig is the unsung hero of the game", Malone said.

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.

"I watched film. I acknowledge that I gotta be better overall", Tatum said. He's scored at least 23 points on 47 percent shooting or better five times.

Will Barton split a pair at the line, giving Denver a 134-133 lead with one minute left in the fourth OT, but Rodney Hood's baseline jumper pushed Portland in front 135-134 with 44.9 seconds to go.

Coach Michael Malone added: "In that first half, they were the aggressor".

INJURY WATCH: Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray was hobbled by a right leg injury. I'm extremely proud of the way my players came back in the second half. "It's one of the biggest moments, and obviously it's the playoffs - I've hit game-winners and big shots before, but this one means a lot, especially going back into the game after being out for a while".

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