The Portland Trail Blazers were treated to a surprise appearance by injured big man Jusuf Nurkic during their Game 5 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nurkic decided to trek from his house to the Moda Center during the third quarter because he thought the team could use a little extra boost down the stretch. With under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, he appeared on the bench, igniting cheers from the crowd and motivating his teammates on the floor.
Jusuf Nurkic said he decided to leave his house and come to the Moda Center with 3 minutes left in the 3rd Q. “I knew it was gonna make a difference,” he said.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) April 24, 2019
The Blazers closed on a 13-2 run, capped off by Damian Lillard’s historic 37-foot buzzer-beater to send the Thunder home.
Terry Stotts appreciated Nurkic’s impact and explained how the big man’s arrival surprised everyone, even joking about Nurkic’s plus-minus on the night.
Terry Stotts just stated that Nurkic was a late arrival, but since Portland was down 8 at the time, he got a +11 for the game.— Timmay (@pdxTimmay) April 24, 2019
Nurkic couldn’t join in on the heated back-and-forth between Portland and Oklahoma City during the playoff series. However, his shirt choice for his arrival at the Moda Center threw one final jab at Russell Westbrook.
Annnd just got a clean look at the shirt Jusuf Nurkic was wearing tonight: “Got Bricks? Next question.” pic.twitter.com/tLEKz2hU1O— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 24, 2019
And Nurkic was able to celebrate with his teammates in the locker room after assisting with the win.