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Lillard on Nurkic After Loss, ‘We’re Going to Need Him’

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Following another disheartening loss on Saturday, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard discussed the much-needed return of Jusuf Nurkic.

Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Trail Blazers dropped their second game in a row to another team that is also battling for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Following the 123-111 loss to the Kings, Damian Lillard made it clear that Jusuf Nurkic’s return can’t get here quick enough.

Lillard explained to The Athletic’s Jason Quick that he is hopeful that Nurkic’s return will provide a much-needed spark.

“Down the stretch, we’re going to need him,” Lillard said. “Hopefully he can come back and really give us something that we’ve been missing, and I guess give us that pop to finish the season strong.”

The Blazers’ defense continues to move in the wrong direction, a trend that has moved Portland further behind Memphis in the postseason chase. Nurkic, who was tasked with manning the backline of the Blazers’ defense, averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game last season.

Nurkic’s targeted return is set for a March 15 matchup against the Rockets.