With Damian Lillard battling flu-like symptoms that looked to limit him early, the Blazers needed somebody else to help pick up the slack and Jusuf Nurkic answered the call with a monster and perhaps even historic career night. More on that later.
But it still wasn’t enough the seal the deal in regulation, as the Sacramento bench led by Bogdan Bogdanovic rallied for a furious comeback that ultimately forced overtime. Portland wasn’t perfect in the extra period, but Lillard had enough left in the tank to put the Kings away.
Random thoughts and takeaways:
Pet-po-pet. There wasn’t much the Kings could do to slow down Nurkic, who looked to be competing in a different weight class than everybody else on the floor. The Bosnian Beast had a double-double at halftime en route to one of his best games of his career (24 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals and 5 blocks) to complete the elusive 5x5 or “five-by-five.” He was relentless on the boards all night with little Sacramento defenders - often several at a time - could do about it. Five of those came on the offensive end and most led to scoring opportunities for the Blazers. Most of his offense that didn’t come from the free throw line (where he was a stellar 14-16) came at or nearby the basket. At the time of this article, we can’t’ find another instance of this stat line being repeated, ever. Truly a tremendous effort from Nurk.
Make it rain. Seth Curry continued his trend of good play off of the bench with 18 points, although most of it was limited to the first half. Nonetheless, Curry again looked comfortable and deliberate catching and shooting the basketball, and flashed his silky touch from range with four threes. He looks to be one of the more consistent pieces emerging from the second unit.
The Blazers will get a few days off before returning home to the Moda Center to begin a five game homestand against the Oklahoma City Thunder Friday night.