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Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia and Herzegovina Beat Portugal in Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament

Nurkic and his national team start off the tournament with a win.

Germany v Bosnia and Herzegovina: Group B - FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic put forth a strong showing for Bosnia and Herzegovina today, helping his national team beat Portugal 84-75 in its first game of the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament.

In the Group Phase matchup, Nurkic scored 17 points on 4/10 shooting from the field, while recording six rebounds and three assists. The big man did most of his damage from the charity stripe, shooting 9/11 on free throws.

Below are highlights from the matchup, where — at the 1:33 mark — you can see Nurkic convert an and-1 layup while falling to the hardwood. Later, Nurkic helps seal the victory with an easy bucket in the final minute to push Bosnia and Herzegovina’s lead to 82-75.

Nurkic was his team’s second-leading scorer in the game, trailing only forward Dzanan Musa, who put up 21 points on 4/9 shooting from the field. Big man Luka Garza, who plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves, pitched in 15 points and 12 rebounds, grabbing seven of those boards on the offensive end.

The Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournaments give 40 countries that did not make it to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup the chance to still reach the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. There are five pre-qualifying tournaments, with eight teams competing in each. The five winners will qualify for the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, which will include 24 countries and send four of them to the Paris games. Seven countries from the FIBA Basketball World Cup will directly qualify for the Paris Olympic Games, along with host country France, putting the field at 12 teams total. You can find a more comprehensive explanation of the qualification system here.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is in Group B of the Poland-Estonia pre-qualifying tournament, placing them in a round-robin format against Hungary, Poland, and Portugal. Group A includes Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, and North Macedonia. The top two countries in each group will move onto the semifinals and finals, taking place Aug. 18 and Aug. 20, respectively.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is scheduled to play against Poland next on Monday, Aug. 14 at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Tournament games are streaming on Courtside 1891 [subscription required].