Back on Feb. 11, Jusuf Nurkic and the Denver Nuggets were sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference, a game and a half up on the Portland Trail Blazers. On Wednesday morning, Jusuf Nurkic is once again in eighth place in the Western Conference, but the Nuggets are not.
Nurkic dropped a career-high 33 points, while also grabbing 15 rebounds in a dominant performance that helped the Blazers to a 122-113 victory over the Nuggets. With the win, their fourth in a row, the Blazers now hold both a one game lead for the eighth spot in the Western Conference, and the tiebreaker over the Nuggets.
While the trade that sent Nurkic to Portland and Mason Plumlee to Denver made sense for both sides, it has been the Blazers who’s benefited most notably from the deal, at least in the short term, with Nurkic averaging 15 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.9 blocks a night since he got to Portland.
Tuesday night, Nurkic seemed to have an extra gear as he went up against his old team and delivered a performance that severely damaged Denver’s playoff hopes. And then, after the game, he damaged their psyches.
“I wish those guys a happy summer,” Nurkic said postgame, in a statement that leaves little doubt of his confidence that the Blazers will hold on to the playoff spot.
Sheesh. “Zero chill” is absolutely correct.