Trail Blazers’ Win One for the Books : NBA: Portland’s 153-151 victory over Phoenix is highest-scoring playoff game ever.
Phoenix Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons believes the Portland Trail Blazers are the NBA’s best when it comes keeping their composure when an opponent tries to take control. On Monday night, they proved his point.
In the highest-scoring playoff game ever, Portland outran the Suns, 153-151, in double overtime to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The coolest Trail Blazer was Danny Ainge, a 10-year veteran who learned about playoff pressure with the Boston Celtics. On Monday night, all that playoff experience came in handy when the Trail Blazers survived two blown 15-point leads.
“It was surprising. A lot of times where you go down by four points, there is some panic, but this team has a lot of poise,” said Ainge, who scored 10 of his 25 points during the third quarter and kept hitting key shots to counter every burst by the Suns.
Ainge was four for six from three-point range, and the Trail Blazers shot a torrid 58%--77% in the first quarter.
Kevin Duckworth put the Trail Blazers ahead, 152-151, when he made two free throws with 10.7 seconds to play in the second overtime.
Terry Porter added one free throw with 3.6 seconds to play. He missed the second shot, and Phoenix got the rebound and called time out. But Dan Majerle’s 30-footer was off the mark as time ran out.
Portland Coach Rick Adelman said he told his team that Majerle would get the ball, although Majerle shot only 33% for the game and was one for nine from three-point range.
“I couldn’t believe we left the guy open at the end who we wanted to foul. We had one to give,” Adelman said.
Majerle’s bank shot with 27.3 seconds to play had put the Suns ahead, 151-150.
The Trail Blazers can advance to the conference finals with a victory at home on Thursday night.
The previous playoff record for points in a game was 285, set when San Antonio beat Denver, 152-133, on April 26, 1983 and matched when Boston routed New York, 157-128, on April 28, 1990.
Portland’s 153 points matched the third-highest total in a playoff game, four short of the 157 scored by the Celtics against New York two years ago. The Suns’ total was the most by a losing team in the playoffs.
Duckworth was scoreless in the fourth quarter and the first overtime, but hit two baskets and four free throws in the second overtime.
Clyde Drexler, who led Portland with 33 points, made two free throws with 1:02 to play in the second overtime, and Duckworth added two to give the Trail Blazers a 150-149 lead.
Regulation ended at 127-127.