Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic was in the building when Damian Lillard hit that epic, series-clinching three-point bomb over Paul George on Tuesday night – but only because he decided to drive himself to the arena during the third quarter.
Nurkic, who was averaging career-high across the board before he suffered a season-ending leg injury on March 26, told reporters after the game that he “was in pain” watching the game from home and just had to be at the Moda Center with his teammates.
The Bosnian Beast made sure to wear his “Got Bricks? Next Question” t-shirt as a parting jab at Russell Westbrook, who he has trolled throughout the series.
“I was in pain watching the game,” Nurkic joked with Kevin Calabro and Lamar Hurd on the NBC Sports broadcast after the game. “By the end of the third quarter, I was like f*** it, excuse my French, I’m gonna go out there and show up and I knew if I showed up, we were going to win this game. I had zero doubt.”
“It meant a lot. I had seen him earlier today; he was at the practice facility. He was getting a lift in and some rehab. I was like, ‘when you gonna come to a game?’ He was like, ‘I’m not ready yet,’ so, when I looked and saw him I was like, man it must’ve looked bad on TV for him to leave his house in the middle of third quarter and drive all the way out here,” CJ McCollum joked postgame.
The Blazers now await the winner of the Denver Nuggets-San Antonio Spurs series. The Nuggets lead that series 3-2 heading into Thursday night’s Game 6 in San Antonio.