Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets could use the kind of break everybody else is getting in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

If anybody deserved some time off, it’s the All-Star center who just played 65 minutes in a game.

But there’s no rest for the weary now. The Nuggets and Trail Blazers will be back on the court Sunday for Game 4, surely a little low on fuel after they tied an NBA record by playing four overtimes Friday night in Portland’s 140-137 victory that gave the Trail Blazers a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

“Both teams are exhausted, so it’s the same for them as it is for us,” Denver Coach Michael Malone said. “We will not use that as an excuse. We haven’t used it all year long and we won’t start using it now.”

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.

Jokic recorded his third triple-double of the playoffs with 33 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists, but missed a free throw that prevented Denver from tying the game with 5.6 seconds to go in the fourth overtime.

Unlike the other semifinal series, the Nuggets and Trail Blazers are playing every other day in their series and would only have an extra day between games if it’s extended to a seventh game.

That means the left shoulder of Portland’s Enes Kanter has little time to heal before he’ll have to get back on the court to resume tussling with Jokic.

“As far as the minutes, everybody’s tired. Were built for what’s happening right now. That’s what we had to do to win the game,” Portland’s Damian Lillard said. “Now we’ve got to go do our jobs away from the floor to make sure that at (7 p.m.) Sunday, we’re ready.”

At least Portland wrapped up its first-round series against Oklahoma City quickly, earning some down time after Lillard’s long 3-pointer ended the series in five games. But the Nuggets had to go the distance against San Antonio, meaning they had only one day off between ending one series and starting the next.

Recover quickly and win Sunday, and they’ve evened the series and regained home-court advantage. But if not, the No. 2 seed would be facing a 3-1 hole – a tough spot no matter their energy level.

The 7-foot, 250-pound Jokic insists he’ll be ready.

“They always talking about I’m not in shape. I’m in really good shape. I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Jokic said. “When I came here, I was maybe a little bit chubby, but there’s really no difference in me now. I’m feeling good.”


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