The Blazers and Nuggets entered Tuesday's faceoff in Portland tied for the No. 8 seed in the West. A win for the Blazers would clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker and give them an additional one-game cushion heading into a final stretch with an easy schedule. Denver had to win this game.
So of course Jusuf Nurkic, the disgruntled Bosnian center the Nuggets traded to Portland last month, dropped a career high 33 points and 16 rebounds as the Blazers beat the Nuggets.
The Nuggets front office is going to take enormous amounts of criticism for the Nurkic trade should the Nuggets miss the playoffs because of it. They should. Nurkic had no place in Denver and was a locker room problem. You don't have to dispute that to suggest that you don't trade high-potential big men to a team you're trying to hold off for the No. 8 seed!
The Nuggets got Mason Plumlee back in the deal and gave up a first. I mean, that's a bad trade. I don't care if Nurkic was a loud chewer and tipped poorly. You can't make that trade with a team you're trying to beat!
The best part of the Jusuf Nurkic Revenge Game? After the game, he publicly wished the Nuggets a "happy summer."
Jusuf Nurkic wishing his former team (the Nuggets) a "happy summer" after defeating them in Portland on Tuesday— SeatGeek = WOW!! (@World_Wide_Wob) March 29, 2017
this man lives by the code pic.twitter.com/RVPbssPDW9
Don't hurt 'em, Joe! (Hat tip to @World_Wide_Wob.)
Scores Galore ...
MIL 118, CHA 108
MIN 115, IND 114
PHI 106, BKN 101
PHX 91, ATL 95
MIA 97, DET 96
GSW 113, HOU 106
DEN 113, POR 122
WAS 119, LAL 108
... And Plenty More
The Miami Heat are really doing this. First, James Johnson dunked on Marcus Morris so hard that his twin, Markieff Morris, collapsed in pain 2,000 miles away. Then Hassan Whiteside got an improbable game-winning tip that might have ended Detroit's season and sparked an ingenious impromptu Miami celebration.
I wrote about the Coach of the Year race, and while I have settled on a candidate, there are really five options with whom you can't go wrong.
New videos from the Lean In/NBA partnership include Jrue Holiday talking about his wife Lauren's brain tumor and his newborn daughter. Bless the Holidays. There also are videos on Devin Booker and his sister and Kyle Lowry wanting to be a good role model for his sons.
Tim Cato (correctly) writes that Russell Westbrook's MVP case is more than his triple-doubles.
Adam Silver believes there will be a female head coach in the NBA soon-ish. I agree.
Excellent piece from Marc Spears on how Gary Trent escaped poverty to make the NBA ... and raise a Duke-bound son.
Damian Lillard quietly became the third-fastest player to hit 1,000 threes (behind the Splash Brothers).
De'Aaron Fox is a jump shot away from being great. (You'll understand why this makes many NBA fans nervous.)