Double overtime came to the NBA bubble for the first time on Wednesday, and it did not disappoint.
The Denver Nuggets outlasted the Utah Jazz in a marathon game. Haymaker after haymaker was delivered in overtime and the final minutes of regulation, and most of them came via Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell finished the game with 35 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds to lead all scorers, but it wasn’t enough to stop Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. The Nuggets’ top two players took over late and eventually finished with a combined 53 points, 23 rebounds and 15 assists.
Michael Porter Jr. also continued a four-game streak of 20-10 games thanks to the two extra periods, posting 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Jazz finished with 22 made 3-pointers in the game, a franchise record.
The win keeps the Nuggets on track for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, though the Jazz, currently sixth, could be waiting for them in the first round. After what Mitchell did to them on Saturday, that might not be a good thing, even with the win.
Donovan Mitchell single-handedly forced OT
Midway through the final minute of regulation, the game seemed headed to a close, but decisive win for the Nuggets. A pair of Jerami Grant free throws gave the Jazz a 104-98 lead with less than 20 seconds remaining. And then Donovan Mitchell happened.
First, Mitchell made a contested fadeaway 3-pointer to pull the Jazz within a point with 10 seconds left.
Then, with the the seconds ticking away and down by two, he drove through just about everyone to force overtime with a game-tying layup.
Not a bad few seconds for one of the NBA’s biggest rising stars.
Donovan Mitchell nearly wins it in OT
Oh, you thought we were done? Turns out Mitchell had another pair of big-time shots to make in overtime.
Here is another impossible-looking 3-pointer to give the Jazz a two-point lead with a half-minute remaining.
And here’s another 2-pointer to give the Jazz another two-point lead.
With the Jazz up two and three seconds remaining, it was Jokic’s turn to deliver a game-tying shot as time expired. The big man got around his defender and made a layup, though it took a while to find out if the basket would count.
As you can see in the video below, the clock never actually started when Jokic got the ball. An official review found that Jokic had gotten the shot off with just 0.3 seconds left.
One more clock controversy later (the clock didn’t start again on the Jazz’s attempted game-winner), and double overtime was officially coming in the bubble.
The Jazz weren’t so lucky in the second period of overtime, possibly due to All-Star center and DPOY candidate Rudy Gobert fouling out. That left backup center Tony Bradley covering the best offensive center in the NBA, so stuff like this happened as the Nuggets picked up a seven-point lead entering the game’s final minute.
Mitchell and Mike Conley Jr. both made 3-pointers in the game’s final 15 seconds, but the gap was too big to make up.
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