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.”
The Blazers and Nuggets played a lot already.
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.