Jusuf Nurkic has arrived.
After Portland’s 114-108 overtime triumph against the Philadelphia 76ers, the entire NBA took notice of Jusuf Nurkic’s amazing performance. He tallied 28 points, 20 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 blocks and 2 steals. How rare was it?
Nurkic joins only Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley as the ONLY players since 85-86 season to post at least:— NBA (@NBA) March 10, 2017
6 BLK pic.twitter.com/WgB8QzoRuu
And Portland certainly noticed, as they set a television ratings high for the current season.
Let’s go around the NBA and see what everyone else thought of last night’s game, and the arrival of “Nurkic Fever”.
Zach Lowe: Ten Things I Like
ESPN’s Lowe raved about Nurkic’s performance, while contrasting his poor performances in Denver. Perhaps a change of scenery is best for everyone, sometimes.
Nurkic has kept Portland on Denver's tail in the race for No. 8 spot. He gives the Blazers a post-up dimension they haven't had since LaMarcus Aldridge bolted, and he has his head on a swivel patrolling the paint. Opponents have shot just 47 percent around the basket with Nurkic lurking since the trade, a solid number -- and a massive improvement over what the Bosnian Beast managed in Denver.
SBNation: Jusuf Nurkic is the NBA’s newest Balkan hero
Tom Ziller at SBNation did a tongue-in-cheek recap of Thursday night’s game, including Denver’s questionable decision to trade Nurkic with a first-round pick. And he noted our new responsibilities to the kids who went to the game.
(By the way. Thursday marked Blazer's Edge Night at Moda Center. That's where members of Blazer's Edge buy gobs of tickets for disadvantaged youth. Now that these kids have experienced the Bosnian Beast at peak form, we need to raise money to buy 2,000 Nurkic jerseys.)
The Ringer: We should all gladly open our immune systems to Nurk Fever
Haley O'Shaughnessy enjoyed the formation of Nurkic Fever, openly talking about the irresistable love affair underway in Portland. And she noted Nurkic’s nod to the Denver Nuggets in his postgame interview with Brooke Olzendam:
In case you missed what he said, here it is again: “I just played minutes for the first time in my life.” The Nuggets are somewhere recovering on two levels: first from the dig, and second from now holding just a half-game lead over the Blazers. Portland is fully infected with Nurk Fever, and it’s gunning for the eighth spot.
Deadspin: This Was Jusuf Nurkic's Night
Emma Baccellieri took notice of Nurkic Fever, discussing his monster stat line, and how well he is fitting into Portland, both the city and the team.
What should have been a key possession for the Sixers turned into a brief Nurkic defensive showcase as he hustled to ruin the inbound and get the Blazers the ball back to finish out the game and seal their victory.
Portland’s clearly suiting him well.
Ball Don’t Lie: Jusuf Nurkic's huge night confirms he was a Blazers steal at the trade deadline
Eric Freeman at Yahoo Sports broke down Nurkic’s night, and noted that the Blazers came out of the trade deadline smelling like roses.
Nurkic has been terrific for Portland, which became especially clear in Thursday’s 114-108 overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The burly 22-year-old Bosnian dominated the contest and finished with 28 points (9-of-18 FG, 10-of-13 FT), 20 rebounds (seven offensive), eight assists, and six blocks — all career bests — in a statistical line that ranks as one of the most remarkable from a big man in recent NBA history. In fact, only Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Charles Barkley have logged 28 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, and five rebounds since 1983-84. Among that bunch, only Barkley’s single game matches Nurkic’s totals from Thursday.
The social world lit up as Nurkic dominated the Sixers. Here were a few highlights.
The Nuggets play in Portland on March 28th. I think Portland wins by 30 and Nurkic goes for 50-20-10-5-5.— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) March 10, 2017
Jusuf Nurkic just became the favorite player of a couple thousand kids that got to come for @blazersedge night.— David MacKay (@DavidMacKayNBA) March 10, 2017
They should take those streamers and make a trophy wig for Nurkic.— David Deckard (@DaveDeckard) March 10, 2017
I think I watched Portland fall in love tonight. Damn, Jusuf.— Eric Griffith (@EricG_NBA) March 10, 2017