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Blazers House Party: Return of the Nurk

Lindsay Hostetler and Steve Dewald fill in for Team Mom during this week’s look back at Trail Blazers stories.

Sacramento Kings v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

As you can probably tell by the byline, Team Mom is on a much-deserved vacation. In her place, contributors Lindsay Hostetler and Steve Dewald have taken over the post with their favorite Trail Blazers stories from the week. Here are their House Party favorites. What were your favorite things that happened this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Week 20, 2-8: Orlando Magic (W), Washington Wizards (W), Phoenix Suns (L), Sacramento Kings (L)

Return of the Nurk

Jusuf Nurkic announced his expected return to play date: March 15th. The big man has been out since a gruesome leg injury last March in a game against the Brooklyn Nets. Prior to his injury, Nurkic averaged 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.

Steve: From what I see, most people have reasonable expectations for Nurkic. I don’t expect that his return will trigger a full-fledged revival of “Nurk Fever”. That said, adding a center that plays within the scheme and is disciplined could provide the Blazers with a significant psychological boost. Whether it is for 10 or 20 minutes a night, that break could do wonders for Trevor Ariza’s stress level.

Instead of setting a bar for statistical output, I am looking for Nurkic to work his way into longer shifts as the season winds to a close. Hopefully he can undertake six-to-seven minute stints with ease after he gets acclimated.

Lindsay: I was driving on the freeway when this news broke. I am not ashamed to say that I did a significant happy dance in my car. If you were on I-5 at the time, I apologize if I caused a distraction. After a year without Nurk, I’m looking forward to the Bosnian Beast returning to the court. Before the Kings game, he got some shots up and looked agile.

There’s no doubt we need another body on the court. That it could be Jusuf Nurkic makes it all the sweeter. Our starters are playing far too many minutes at the moment, and Nurk’s return could lighten the load. I do wonder how coronavirus will impact the ability to make jokes about Nurk Fever.

A Not-Favorite

The NBA has warned that the league may have to play games without an audience to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Steve: First off, for the most part, I agree with Kemba Walker’s comments on the subject. He explained his stance to Mass Live’s Tom Westerholm on Saturday.

“That would be terrible,” Walker said. “That would be boring. They might as well cancel the whole game before that. That would suck. But at the end of the day, it is getting serious. I don’t know. It would be very weird though for sure.”

I agree, the thought of a game being played in an empty arena would be terrible. That aside, I do understand the serious threat that this coronavirus outbreak poses to vulnerable members of our community.

On a lighter note, the Jazz and Spurs are used to playing games where the in-arena announcer drowns out everything else. Mark Mason is already a gem, but he could really shine as a solo act.

Lindsay: Why play at all? I’m sure there are players in the league who would do it for the love of the game, but the audience provides an essential element for players. Like Steve, I completely the understand the need for precautions. I am sure the NBA will take intermediary steps before holding games in empty arenas.

Can you imagine how eerie that would be? I’m not sure I’d even watch it on television at that point. I hope that the league takes a serious look at a lengthy break and resuming play at a later date.

That will do it for the House Party! What did you like about this week? What plays or player make you excited for the future? Let us know in the comments below.