If I was a fan of one of the teams in this game, I literally would not have been able to handle the intensity. Death would’ve been my fate, surely. I barely could handle it as it was; my heart was beating out of my chest for the entire duration of the four overtimes. My vision was tunneling. My arms were tingly and only semi-responsive, but they were in a better state than my legs, which were totally numb and immobile. So I couldn’t even stop watching if I wanted to. I was trapped in front of my screen, forced to watch 68 minutes of playoff basketball while feeling like I was going to slim into a coma at any moment.
But it had to end at some point, and it did, with the Blazers eking out a win due to Nikola Jokic’s chokejob at the free-throw line. He’s going to get some heat for that, but where’s the heat for Will Barton’s missed foul shot with a minute left? Actually, never mind that, because I just went back through the whole game and found SEVERAL instances of Nuggets players taking a shot at the basket but missing. It looks like there are a lot of people to blame here, because that was a lot of points left on the board. All those shots go in like they should (these are professionals after all, they don’t pay them millions of dollars to miss), and this game turns into a SERIOUS blowout. Overtimes not needed.
Otherwise, Barton had a pretty good game by his (recently rather low) standards, 22 points all scored in the fourth quarter or the overtimes. He lost his starting gig after some poor performances early in the Spurs series, but he almost made himself the hero in this one. It helped that he got a huge rest for most of the middle of the game, keeping him fresh for the extra periods. While everyone else trudged around feeling that if death came and took them right there, that wouldn’t be so bad, Barton was flying around, getting buckets and blocking shots.