Best of 2017: Unforgettable moments, topped by Nurkic Fever
BEST DIAGNOSIS: NURKIC FEVER
Jusuf Nurkic’s arrival in Rip City quickly became the most memorable moment down the stretch of the 2016-17 season. After the deal that sent Mason Plumlee to Denver on February 12th, Nurkic averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 blocks, and all of Portland caught “Nurkic Fever.”
The Bosnian Beast continued to give Blazer fans chills, when on March 28th against his former team he had 33 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks. That 122-113 win for the Trail Blazers was a key victory in Portland securing a playoff berth over Denver.
BLAZERS EARN TOP HONORS IN THE MONTH OF MARCH
Damian Lillard and coach Terry Stotts took home Player and Coach of the Month honors for March.
Stotts guided the Trail Blazers to a league best 13-3 record that month.
Lillard ranked third in the NBA in scoring with 29.1 point per game and he also tied for fourth in the league in three-pointers made with 55. Those stats definitely help you earn a Player of the Month nod.
GOOD LOOKING FRANCHISE RECORD
Dame drops 59 points vs. Utah in April.
Yes, Damian Lillard went down in the record books on April 8th by scoring 59 points, setting a new franchise record.
Lillard led the Blazers to a 101-86 win over the Jazz. Lillard’s new franchise record eclipsed Damon Stoudamire’s 54-point game back in 2005.
Dame hit 18 of 34 shots, including 9 of 14 threes, with six rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers.
TOP BLAZER VIDEO OF 2017
TOP TRAIL BLAZER TWEET OF 2017
Some of our best tweets that had Rip City retweeting and hitting that like button included this one with the infamous quote from Damian Lillard. "Blazers in Six."
Lillard had predicted the Blazers as a No. 8-seeded would knock off the Golden State Warriors. People all over the league were talking about Lillard’s confidence. Yeah, yeah we know it ended up being Warriors in four.
BEST NEW FRIENDSHIP
This past November Jusuf Nurkic told our Blazers Insider Jason Quick that Damian Lillard is the best thing to ever happen to him.
The two teammates have a connection on the floor and have very powerful relationship off the court. It’s obvious that Lillard has made a big impact on the Bosnian Beast’s life.
TOP COACHING SHAKEUPS (PART 1)
The big news out of Corvallis in 2017: Gary Andersen walks out on the Beavers football team and former Beaver Jonathan Smith is back in Corvallis as the new head coach.
Coach Andersen announced in October after the Beavs were looking at a 1-5 record midway through the season that he was leaving the job, effectively immediately.
And, at his introductory news conference, Coach Smith showed his passion and excitement to be at the helm for Oregon State, saying, “OSU fits me and I fit OSU.”
TOP COACHING SHAKEUPS (PART 2)
Willie Taggart built one of the best recruiting classes in the nation in his first year as the Ducks head football coach and he led Oregon to a 7-5 season, which then earned the Ducks a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl.
Once the season ended, however, Willie Taggart left the program to take a heading coach job back home at Florida State.
Ducks interim head coach Mario Cristobal was named as the new Oregon head coach. Cristobal joined UO's staff as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach 11 months ago.
THE PORTLAND THORNS TAKE HOME THE 2017 NWSL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Portland Thorns took home the hardware in 2017! The Thorns beat the North Carolina Courage 1-0 to win the NWSL Championship at Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida on October 14th.
It was in the 50th minute that Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan scored after an Emily Sonnett free kick bounced to her in the box.
This was the second title for the Thorns who also won the NWSL's inaugural championship in 2013.
OREGON DUCKS MAKE FINAL FOUR APPEARANCE
The Oregon Ducks postseason run ended in a semifinal matchup against the eventual champion North Carolina Tar Heels. It was a magical postseason run for the Ducks who had not appeared in the Final Four for since the 1939 "Tall Firs" team brought the title home to Eugene.
After reaching the Final Four for the second time in school history with a 33-6 record, Oregon saw their season end a game short of the national title game, but the Ducks had already set a school record for wins. The Tar Heels were able to just barely hold off a late rally run by the Ducks with a final score of 77-76.