Trail Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic was flirting with a near triple-double and he was looking to create for the Blazers in Portland’s 119-109 victory over the Wizards on Sunday.
Nurkic finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. He knew looking for his open teammates would be more advantageous for his team.
“When I start the game I thought we’re gonna benefit more if I try, you know, the opportunity was there so I tried just to make a right call and right time… We got really good looks,” Nurkic told reporters postgame.
Blazers fans already know that Nurkic is a team-first type of player and he continues to prove that time and time again.
“When you give up a good shot for great shot it’s always good… We try to pick your teammates up so even in the offense you try to, you know, make the right decision and when you make right decisions, it’s fun, everybody gets to touch the ball. So, when we do that everybody feels comfortable with that,” Nurkic said.
Entering Sunday’s game, the Blazers big man was averaging 1.7 assists per game, but postgame there was just one fancy pass to CJ McCollum that had the media talking…
“A little space is enough sometimes,” Nurkic joked.
The last time a Trail Blazer player had a triple-double was when Nicolas Batum recorded 14 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists against the Orlando Magic in January of 2014.
But, don’t think for a second that Nurkic was watching his stats during the game.
“I’m not hunting… anything, man. I’m gonna do whatever the team needs me to do… If it happens, it happens, you know,” Nurkic said.
The Blazers’ team captain Damian Lillard has been close to snagging that elusive triple-double, but has yet to complete it. In Sunday’s win, Lillard had 40 points, seven rebounds, and five assists as well as plenty of praise for the Bosnian Beast.
“Just making the right plays. I think that, he’s played really well so far this season and tonight, like I said, our attitude was right. We executed, we passed the ball well, we moved well, we cut hard and he was making the right plays. He kept it simple. He was making those backdoor cuts. He was rebounding the ball, you know, our offense and the way we screen was opening things up and he was just playing the game how you’re suppose to play,” Lillard told NBC Sports Northwest producer Peter Socotch.
So, the triple-double watch for this current Trail Blazers roster continues. Who knows with the strong connection between Nurkic and Lillard maybe they could both finish with triple-doubles on the same night.
Yeah, I think about that for a second… That’d be some history for the record books.