Jusuf Nurkic

Damian Lillard: Warriors-Blazers 'completely different' with one change

Damian Lillard: Warriors-Blazers 'completely different' with one change

Programming note: Watch the NBA Finals pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

The Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals.

The Dubs won Game 1 by 22 points, Game 2 by three points, Game 3 by 11 points and Game 4 by two points in overtime.

Damian Lillard believes one variable changed everything.

"I think going into the Western Conference finals, in my mind this was a shot for us to win it all," he told reporters on Tuesday. "I really felt like we could have beat the Warriors and went on to win it all.

"I think we have Nurk (Jusuf Nurkic), it's a completely different situation. And that's not a crutch or an excuse, I just think with him out there our season would have probably been extended a little bit longer."

"Completely different" as in Portland wins the series? 

"Probably been extended a little bit longer" in that the series goes to six or seven games?

Is this the moment when somebody tells Dame that the Warriors were missing Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins all four games and didn't have Andre Iguodala in Game 4?

Not having Nurkic -- who averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds before suffering a season-ending broken leg on March -- was absolutely a big loss for the Blazers.

[RELATEDIguodala doubles down on opinion about Curry's all-time rank]

But let's just make sure we keep in mind the full context when discussing hypotheticals. 


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Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury vs. Nets


Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic suffers gruesome leg injury vs. Nets

Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic suffered a horrible, horrible injury during Monday night's game against the Nets.

If you watched it live or have watched a replay, you know how brutal it was. If you haven't watched the video, DON'T.

Just think Gordon Hayward, Kevin Ware, Paul George and Shaun Livingston.

It was that bad.

Shortly after midnight, the Blazers announced that Nurkic suffered a compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula, and that there is no timetable for his return.

Nurkic was having a monster game at the time of the injury, dropping in 32 points and grabbing 16 rebounds, and the Blazers beat the Nets in double overtime, but neither matters at this point.

Losing Nurkic is another huge blow for the Blazers, who currently sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. They are already playing without shooting guard CJ McCollum, who strained his popliteus muscle in his left knee.

Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins was among the current and former players to send their thoughts and prayers to Nurkic.

Iman Shumpert denies he tried to enter Blazers locker room, apologizes to fans

Iman Shumpert denies he tried to enter Blazers locker room, apologizes to fans

The narrative is that Kings guard Iman Shumpert tried to enter the Trail Blazers locker room in search of Portland center Jusuf Nurkic after the Kings' win on Monday night.

But according to Shumpert, that's not what happened.

Why did Shumpert want to talk to Nurkic? It appears Shumpert wasn't happy about a screen Nurkic set in the first quarter.

“Some stuff just needs to be between me and him,” Shumpert told reporters after the game. “A conversation between two men. At the end of the day, this league is a bunch of men. A bunch of great men off the court. Some stuff happened that we needed to have a conversation about.”

Nurkic wasn't so diplomatic about everything after the game, even taking a shot at the 28-year-old Shumpert.

“I just said what I said. I’m not worried about him,” Nurkic told reporters. “I’m not worried about a guy who’s going into retirement soon.”

Regardless, a few hours after the game, Shumpert sent out a tweet apologizing for his actions.

If Shump and Nurk still want a piece of each other, they'll have to wait until the regular season finale on April 10 in Portland when the Kings and Blazers meet for the third and final time this season.