Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3

Rapid Reaction: 3 Quick Takeaways from the Trail Blazers loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Thunder got their revenge in Game 3 after the Trail Blazers took a 2-0 advantage. 

OKC was looking to make it more of series in front of its home crowd and the fans were ready for it. The Thunder crowd was bringing the energy even before the game started. The fanbase welcomed back Enes Kanter with a loud applause during the pregame introductions, but that was the first and last time they gave any love to the big fella.

Early in the third quarter it looked as the Thunder were going to run away with this one. OKC’s biggest lead was 16 points.

Then, Damian Lillard happened...

Lillard scored 25 points in the third quarter to help keep Portland within striking distance.

The Thunder’s lead dwindled down to just four points heading into the final period.  It was a hard fought battle in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder had the last word, defeating the Blazers.

Final Box Score: Thunder 120, Trail Blazers 108

Here are some quick thoughts from the Blazers Game 3 loss:

1. A low scoring affair early

If it wasn’t for the Thunder’s three-point shooting in the first quarter, the start of the game would’ve been real rough for OKC. Yes, you heard that right.

Shooting on your home court can make all the difference and it sure did for Oklahoma City.

The tide turned for the Thunder from the perimeter. After shooting just over 15% from three in Game 1 and over 17% in Game 2, OKC started the game going 5-for-8 from deep. Yet, the Blazers still had a 22-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Playing at home really helped out shooting guard Terrance Ferguson. He went a perfect 3-for-3 before missing his first three-point attempt midway through the 3rd quarter.

2. It wasn’t pretty one

Neither team had a very clean offensive game, particular in the first half. Both teams were committing turnovers and there were plenty of offensive fouls to go around. 

But when you are the road team making it an ugly game can be an advantage just like the Godfather Dwight Jaynes pointed out.

To have 13-first half turnovers and only be shooting the ball 37.5% as a team on the road, Portland could’ve been a lot worse shape at halftime. The Thunder led by 10 at the break.

3. Fouls changed the game

Paul George had 10 points at halftime, but once the Blazers got into foul trouble he was able to get cleaner looks and was able to convert. Midway through the third quarter, Portland’s top defenders on George, Maurice Harkless and AL-Farouq Aminu both had been hit with four fouls each.

The foul trouble for Portland disrupted their defense, and in the end, the Blazers weren’t able to snag this one on the road.  

NEXT UP: The Trail Blazers and Thunder will tip-off Game 4 on Sunday night at 6:30pm pacific time. You can catch the game on NBC Sports Northwest. Our pregame coverage starts at 5:30pm.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your Blazers and stream the games easily on your device.

Ever Wonder why there's a sash on the Trail Blazers uniforms?

Ever Wonder why there's a sash on the Trail Blazers uniforms?

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a three-part series, as we explore more about the Portland Trail Blazers' jersey designs, with the Trail Blazers Brand Team including, Director of Brand and Retail Marketing Todd Adams, Vice President of Brand Strategy Ryan Flaherty, and Trail Blazers Art Director Mario Milosevic.

Clean lines and a sash combination of red, black, white, or sometimes even silver has been a mainstay in the team’s uniform designs.

Those stripes on the jersey are unique to Portland. 

Whether the look is called the sash or stripes, it’s not just Trail Blazers fans that recognize these striped uniforms as Portland’s.

That sash across the chest has been around since nearly the beginning of the Trail Blazers franchise.

KEEPING IT TRADITIONAL

As Trail Blazers Director of Brand and Retail Marketing Todd Adams explained, the stripes across the uniforms was an original design in the 1970s. The team has since made it a point to “stay rooted in those original designs.”  

I think the 70s was a wild time for uniforms design. If you look up the cool things -- the Denver Nuggets introduced the rainbow design, the Atlanta Hawks and the Pacers had these cool curvy racing stripes that went across the chest… I think somewhere along the way a designer decided, ‘hey let’s tilt this across the chest and make it a sash’...  Where some teams might… modernize or try to stay with the times… We just stay rooted in those original designs.” -- Trail Blazers Director of Brand and Retail Marketing Todd Adams 

Three expansion teams entered the NBA in 1970, the Portland Trail Blazers being one of them along with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Buffalo Braves who are now the Los Angeles Clippers.

Think about the various looks across the league for a moment and the various looks over the years.

Are there specific teams that come to mind that always seem to stick to a traditional look?

Boston, perhaps?

Or, what about Indiana?

Portland should be in that same classification.

“We’re a little bit more of a traditional looking team,” said Vice President of Brand Strategy Ryan Flaherty. “There’s always Boston out there, that’s gonna be the most traditional, but I think I would put us in that category more than someone whose trying to just be trend-setting.”

The Trail Blazers organization not only wants to achieve the unique sash look to being rooted in rich tradition, but also to pay homage to the city of Portland.

We always use the term ‘retro-modern’ which I know contradicts itself… If you look around Portland, specifically, any type of design whether it’s a restaurant, or a brewery, or an art gallery, or any type of business, most of the ones that are popular have this little retro vibe to it, but reinvented, something modern for this area. It just is a look that’s really common and, I guess, adopted in the Portland area. -- Trail Blazers President of Brand Strategy Ryan Flaherty

And, what about calling it a sash? Is that okay?

"Yes," however, “it has been referred to as a ‘Blaze’ across the front of the uniforms,” according to Flaherty.

THIS LOOK BELONGS TO PORTLAND  

No matter how the stripes down the chest are described, two things are certain:

  • Trail Blazers fans want the sash to stay forever
  • NBA fans recognize the stripes as belonging to the Trail Blazers

“We use focus groups with fans because when we were not only asking about our logos and marks, we were asking about our uniforms and -- it's very clearly that they liked the sash and wanted it used in some way, shape, or form. That was really loud and clear,” Flaherty said.

Others around the league realize that the sash IS PORTLAND.

Flaherty continued, “it’s one visual element that we kind of own across the league. When you turn on the TV and you see the sash, those stripes -- it’s us automatically."

Adams added that basketball fans across the country don’t need to see the word Portland Trail Blazers on a graphic or on the jersey to know what team is playing once they’ve see the stripes.

“When you’re changing the channel, or flipping through, it’s immediate to notice, ‘okay, that’s the Trail Blazers -- they’ve got that cool line across their chest.’”

THE PROCESS OF DESIGNING A JERSEY

Since the NBA partnered with Nike during the 2017-18 season, teams now have up to five or sometimes six uniforms a year.

Adams, Flaherty, and Trail Blazers Art Director Mario Milosevic currently design the jerseys with a handful of other people within the organization. 

Designing new looks is always ongoing.

These are the five Trail Blazers uniforms for the 2019-20 season:

“We’re continually updating and working with [Nike] on what the new design can look like for the City Edition, which is every year.” Adams said. “The Statement, which is at least now every three years, and then we get an Earned Uniform if we make the playoffs.”

Fans will not find the stripes across the chest on a 'City Edition' jersey or a 'Statement Edition,' but rather on ‘The Association’ and ‘Icon’ editions, which lean more on the side of traditional for the old school fans that like that consistent look.

NBA design teams are mocking up the look and feel of the uniforms years before fans are able to throw on their favorite player’s jersey.

The Trail Blazers Brand Team is currently working on the 2022-23 ‘City Edition’ uniforms.

Luckily, Nike is already out ahead of the fashion fads.

“We work closely with Nike on that. They’re obviously ahead of the trends. They’re producing shoes in the same time frame and footwear and apparel two or three years out, so they’re creating trends in the industry so we rely on their expertise to guide us on that, as they help guide all the other 29 teams in the league,” Adams said.

Sometimes Nike will “push the envelope on the original design,” Adams said, adding, “it’s a real good partnership working with them and the league.”

The partnership between the Portland Trail Blazers and a sash on traditional jerseys is also a real good collaboration as well.

To learn more about your hometown team's look and design, check out the video at the top of the article.

The NBA has a targeted return date

The NBA has a targeted return date

Things continue to trend in the right direction for the NBA resuming play.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had a meeting with the Board of Governors Friday that involved discussions of the league returning to play and included a targeted return date of July 31, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The news comes six days after the NBA announced negotiations with Walt Disney Company to play out the remainder of the 2019-20 season at its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

But in which format? 

The NBA is reportedly considering four different structures on how the league will return to the court: 16 teams advancing directly to the postseason, 20 teams for a group stage, 22 teams which involves a play-in tournament for the final seeds, or 30 teams that finish a 72-game regular season and have a play-in tournament. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski later reported that the league's Board of Governors plans to vote on Thursday with the expectation of approving Adam Silver's recommendation to play the season in Orlando.  

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, if the NBA did play regular season games then teams within six games of a playoff spot would be invited back to participate in the remainder of the regular season and a play-in tournament for the final playoff berths.

However, bringing back all 30 teams has been thought to be unlikely given that many non-playoff teams don't want to return to the court without a chance at the postseason.

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan reportedly fought for player safety in the meeting and didn't want players returning for "meaningless" games. 

This sentiment was earlier stated by Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard who said he won't suit up when the NBA returns unless the Blazers have a real shot at the postseason.

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that in there," Lillard told Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes on Tuesday morning.

Here's a quick breakdown of each potential structure.

16 teams: Directly to playoffs

This method has the NBA advancing directly to the postseason using the standings as of the season's suspension on March 11. Under this proposal, the Portland Trail Blazers would miss the postseason for the first time since 2013 as they're 3.5 games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot.

In a survey filled out by NBA General Managers, 53% were in favor of this plan, or 16/30. 

20 teams: Group Stage

The NBA would take the 16 teams currently in playoff position, and then four next-best teams in the playoff race, coincidentally all from the Western Conference and replace the first round with a group stage where the best two teams from each group advance to the second round.

The Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs would be brought back with this idea along with the original 16 teams. 

Since Kevin O'Connor of the Ringer broke down how the format could work in detail here, the idea has received a positive response on NBA Twitter but only 25% of NBA GMs voted for the World Cup-style group stage in comparison to the play-in tournament. 

22 teams: Games to determine seeding with play-in tournament for final seeds

It's unclear which additional teams would be brought in besides the four mentioned in the group stage. Perhaps the Pheonix Suns who are two games behind San Antonio and the Washington Wizards, the ninth seed in the East, who are 5.5 games out of a playoff spot. 

A play-in tournament would be the preferred method by Damian Lillard for the league to return to play.

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard explains how he'd structure the NBA's return

30 teams: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney

60% of general managers voted for the 72-game season in the survey. This would allow each time to fulfill, or mostly fulfill their local broadcast deals, and fans would still get a chance to see teams play head-to-head to make the postseason. However, non-playoff GMs are split on if they want to even resume the season so this seems unlikely. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Ever wonder how the Trail Blazers settled on their team name?

Ever wonder how the Trail Blazers settled on their team name?

Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a three-part series, as we explore more about the meaning behind the name, Portland Trail Blazers with the Trail Blazers Brand Team including, Director of Brand and Retail Marketing Todd Adams, Vice President of Brand Strategy Ryan Flaherty, and Trail Blazers Art Director Mario Milosevic.

In professional sports, more often than not a team name is either an animal of some kind or has some significance to the team and city.  

For the Portland Trail Blazers, the name came about from Oregonians.

Yes, the fans decided the name.

It was determined by a contest in 1970 with over 10,000 entries. One hundred and 72 people sent in the name 'Trail Blazers.'

Ryan Flaherty, the Trail Blazers President of Brand Strategy, who has been in marketing and brand development for the Blazers for over 24 years, explained how one the team's founder, Harry Glickman, was quick to get people involved and thus interested an NBA team early on.  

“Not only did we need a logo but we needed a name. Harry was a super savvy marketer back in the day and he conducted a fan vote for the name,” Flaherty said. 

The nickname was unique in professional sports at the time and still is to this day.

It's apparent that having a personalized touch on everything the Trail Blazers do has been engraved in the organization since day one.  

Flaherty mentioned that to the best of his knowledge, Glickman mailed everyone who sent in the name ‘Trail Blazers,’ a letter addressed personally from Glickman, stating that their selection was made.

Other vote getters included the “Portland Pioneers” and the “Doug Firs.”

Just imagine that for a moment.

There would be a lot of logo possibilities with the Doug Firs, that’s for sure.

So, how do the Trail Blazers describe what it means to be a Trail Blazer?

There are have been many stories over the years referencing the Portland Trail Blazers as blazing the pathways through the state of Oregon, but really what it comes down to the for the Blazers organization, is they simply use the dictionary.

“How we define it -- we literally take the definition right out of the dictionary when we are talking about our name,” Flaherty added. “We usually refer to ourselves as pioneers, leaders on a path.”

Even though many probably haven’t given this much thought, the Trail Blazers Director of Brand and Retail Marketing Todd Adams explained that -- the Blazers have never had any legal trouble with the name thanks to one tiny space.

“One thing that helps us from a legal standpoint -- the actual noun, Trailblazer, is one word, but our team name is Trail Blazers as two words, so that’s something that we’re able to own actually from the US trademark office and it also allows us to shorten and take the second term -- Blazers -- which you see on our jersey,” Adams said.  “We’ve actually never had a jersey that said Trail Blazers across the chest. It’s always been Blazers…  It’s one of the longest team name’s in at least our league, maybe most leagues.”

Yes, that does give way to some design challenges on uniforms, but whether you perform saying the full name, Portland Trail Blazers, or going with Trail Blazers or just simply Blazers, now you can have the added satisfaction of knowing fellow fans are to thank for the name.   

To learn more about your hometown team's look and design, check out the video at the top of the article.

Carmelo Anthony doesn’t care for Michael Jordan, LeBron James G.O.A.T. debates

Carmelo Anthony doesn’t care for Michael Jordan, LeBron James G.O.A.T. debates

Carmelo Anthony has watched “The Last Dance” documentary, and he’ll even tell you Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.

But when it comes to G.O.A.T. debates between the Chicago Bulls legend and LeBron James, the Trail Blazers star is not having it.

"I don't like it,” Anthony told CBS Sports. “And I say that because whenever we do that, we fail to appreciate what we have in front of us. Any time these comparisons are made, whether it's anybody -- old school versus new school -- it's like, why can't we just appreciate everybody for what they bring to the game?"

Melo has grown to appreciate both players games over the years. He developed a relationship with Jordan when he became the first signature athlete to sign with Jordan Brand in 2003. He’s also played basketball with LeBron since high school and the Lakers star once saved Anthony’s life when he was drowning in the Bahamas.

All allegiances aside, Anthony doesn’t think you have to side with one or the other. 

You know, M.J. is the GOAT. He's the greatest ever. We all know that, and we all agree to that. Why can't we say that, but also give LeBron his flowers while he's here too?" Why can't we say, 'M.J. was very great, LeBron is very great, Kobe is very great.' We're not allowed to say those things today, because it's always this or that, and that's just our society -- you have to choose one.

Watching The Last Dance did enlighten Melo though. He also believes it gave viewers a glimpse into what kind of person MJ was rather than the names like M.J. the great, Basketball God and Black Jesus that followed him after his legendary years on the court.

“He was a mythical person, like a mythical creature,” Melo said. “Nobody understood who he was or what he was. I think seeing him kind of take the lid off the pot and having the chance to kind of just tell his story and people can hear his passion -- what he's into, what he's not, and how he operates on the day-to-day, his mentality. Most people loved it. Some people were very surprised. And then there were people who hated it, because a lot of times people hate the actual truth."

LeBron James’ contributions might not match up to the greatness of Jordan. We don’t know, the story of his basketball career is still being written. What we do know is that both Jordan and LeBron have transcended the sport as we know it and helped grow the game on a global scale. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Seattle SuperSonics -- the rivalry that was

Portland Trail Blazers vs. Seattle SuperSonics -- the rivalry that was

Who else is really missing the I-5 rivalry right now? 

After watching Thursday's classic game on NBCSNW with the Trail Blazers taking the Seattle SuperSonics to three overtimes in a come from behind win, it's hard not to think about the Pacific Northwest rivalry.  

Portland’s 130-124 triple-overtime victory over the Sonics in Seattle on Dec. 1, 1990 was a fun one!

The Blazers were down by 14 in the fourth, but this 1990-91 Trail Blazers squad never gave up. Remember, this was a Portland team that would end up making a trip to the Western Conference Finals that season.

At this point in the year, the victory over Seattle helped the Blazers improve to 13-1.

The Blazers did get some help, though, by not having a video review system.

Since there was no monitor to review a shot that was swished in after the buzzer sounded, that meant the Blazers forced a second OT.

Terry Porter led Portland with 38 points and made a three-pointer at the end of the first overtime to tie the game. He was double-teamed and then stripped of the ball on the way up, but he recovered it in the air and somehow managed to get off the shot that tied the game.

The officials counted the basket even though… Well, you be the judge.

The 1990 game had Rip City chuckling when thinking about how different NBA broadcasts used to be.

For example, the “ComputerLand” Fast Stats -- those were a big deal!

But more than anything, this Trail Blazers Classic Game had Blazers fans talking about what used to be between these two teams.

The passion and hatred for one another was there.

The I-5 rivalry was something special in the Pacific Northwest, no doubt about that.

Fans shared what they miss most about the battles between the Blazers and Sonics, all the while hoping that the Emerald City will someday get a team back.

Portland held a 94-98 record against Seattle before the SuperSonics relocated to OKC. The Blazers and Sonics were even at 2-2 in playoff series.

  • 1991 West First Round Series – Trail Blazers win series, 3-2
  • 1983 West First Round Series – Trail Blazers win series, 2-0
  • 1980 West First Round Series – Sonics win series, 2-1
  • 1978 West Semifinals – Sonics win series, 2-4

Trail Blazers head coach Rick Adelman spoke very highly of the Dec. 1, 1990 triple-overtime win.

“That, to me, was the best we’ve ever had in the regular season,” Adelman said postgame. “We had it won twice, and we lost it three or four times. I just didn’t ever know what was going to happen next.”

Porter found Jerome Kersey under the basket and he was fouled as regulation came to an end. Kersey, a 64 percent foul shooter, missed the first shot, but then hit the second one to tie the game and send the game into its first overtime.

Fans showed their love for TP and Kersey.  

This game was also a nice preview of what was to come later in the season.

In the 1990-91 Playoffs, the top-seeded Blazers, who finished the regular season with a franchise-record 63 wins, were able to move past the eighth-seed Sonics. 

Seattle gave Portland all they could handle in that series. The Blazers took the first two games at the Memorial Coliseum, but the Sonics won both games in Seattle. In the decisive fifth game, the Trail Blazers came out on top, 119-107.

Now, all that's left to say is -- bring back the Sonics. 

REPORT: NBA Draft expected to be pushed back to September

REPORT: NBA Draft expected to be pushed back to September

At the end of April, reports surfaced that the 2020 NBA Draft would be pushed back to August or September.

Now it’s reportedly going to be September at the earliest.  

The draft was originally set for June 25, 2020, but of course, that was before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to shut down.

Now, the NBA Draft is expected to take place in September, that’s according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  

According to the report, the NBA is also considering holding the typical early July free agency period before the draft rather than holding it after.

This is no surprise really that the draft is getting pushed back. It was expected since the league postponed the Draft Lottery and Combine indefinitely.

The Lottery was scheduled for May 19. The Combine was set to run from May 21-24 in Chicago.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Clyde Drexler is not okay with automatically labeling Michael Jordan or LeBron James the GOAT

Clyde Drexler is not okay with automatically labeling Michael Jordan or LeBron James the GOAT

Since the final episode of 'The Last Dance,' ESPN’s docuseries on Michael Jordan, NBA players, current and former, have shared their thoughts on who is the Greatest of All-Time.

The debate of who is better between Michael Jordan and LeBron James has some players and analysts heated.

Former Portland Trail Blazer and 10x NBA All-Star, who also battled it out numerous times against MJ, Clyde Drexler shared his opinion on the matter.

In a recent interview with SportsTalk 790’s ‘The A-Team,’ Drexler discussed The Last Dance, his overall career, the debate on who is the best NBA player of all-time and more.   

More than 20 years after Drexler and MJ last laced it up against each other, Drexler has his own opinion on the GOAT debate.

Clyde the Glide believes neither Jordan nor LeBron James should be the only two automatically pegged as the NBA's greatest player of all time.

I have a real problem with that, because out of all the guys that played the game, for you to have a conversation of these two guys as the GOAT when you've got Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the greatest players to ever live - I think you start with those two. Clyde Drexler told ‘The A-Team.’

Drexler also offered up suggestions on a handful of other NBA greats.

"And then you've got guys like Dr. J [Julius Erving], Larry Bird, George Gervin, Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West. All those guys are in the conversation, and so for people to bring this up today, to me it's just unbelievable. And I love Michael and LeBron. But still, let's not take something away from those other guys who played."

Drexler played for the Trail Blazers from 1983-1995 after being selected as the No. 14 overall pick by Portland. He then went on and won a championship in 1995 with the Rockets.

He wasn’t done discussing the debate of MJ and LeBron with 'The A-Team,' in fact, he called it "blasphemy" to not include Wilt and the like.

"How are you going to say somebody is better than those guys?" Drexler said. "I just don't even get it. It's blasphemy at best. And it's always by people who have never played the game who are making these assessments because people who played the game know better. You don't put people ahead of people - nobody was better than those people."

The Trail Blazers great also mentioned that basketball is a team sport.

“This is a team game, it’s not one guy… So I hate when people act like it’s an individual competition.”

View this post on Instagram

Clyde isn’t a fan of it. 👀😳

A post shared by Blazers Nation (@blazersnationcp) on

Listen to the full interview right here.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Michael Jordan and Jusuf Nurkic share something unique in common

Michael Jordan and Jusuf Nurkic share something unique in common

Five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway revealed a secret about Michal Jordan on the debut episode of ‘Sports Uncovered.’

“The reason why I’m smiling, I might get in trouble for this,” Hardaway said on the NBC Sports podcast. “[MJ] and Rod Higgins are really, really good friends. He came and practiced with us two or three times and we knew he was coming back then.”

Yep, the cat is out of the bag about a few secret practices.

Before Michael Jordan returned to the Bulls from his first retirement in the spring of 1995, he was a Golden State Warrior for two days.

In NBC Sports’ 'Sports Uncovered' podcast, members of the 1994-95 Golden State Warriors team detailed for the first time that Jordan dominated Dubs practices weeks before rejoining the Bulls 25 years ago.

‘Sports Uncovered’ is a six-part series that explores memorable sports events and figures in deeper and different ways through in-depth storytelling and high-profile interviews. Each NBC Sports regional network has developed and produced one episode.

Thursday’s debut podcast centers around Michael Jordan’s first NBA comeback announcement, called 'I’m Back'.

Jordan's connection to the Warriors before his return struck a chord in Portland. It is reminiscent of what the Trail Blazers are going through right now and it centers around big man Jusuf Nurkic.

Nurkic has been sidelined since March 2019 with an ankle injury and rehabbing it ever since. He was close to making his return days after the NBA shutdown. 

So, what do Jordan and Nurkic have in common? 

The Warriors. 

"Michael was a Warrior for 48 hours,” NBA forward and Jordan’s good friend Rod Higgins said. "MJ really wanted to play against Hardaway and [Latrell] Sprewell, because Sprewell was ‘the new it’, so to speak, in terms of the two-guard.”

Nurkic was a member of Warriors for an afternoon. Albeit, the Santa Cruz Warriors, but in a Warriors jersey, nonetheless. 

 

[RELATED: Trail Blazers fans not happy seeing Jusuf Nurkic in a Santa Cruz Warriors practice jersey]

With the Trail Blazers being so injury-depleted in early March, there aren’t enough healthy bodies for a full scrimmage.

And a full scrimmage is what Nurkic needed as the final step in rehabbing his left leg.

Thus, the Trail Blazers turned to Golden State’s G-League team, the Santa Cruz Warriors for assistance since the Blazers do not have their own G-League team.

Mar. 11, Nurk flew down to Santa Cruz with Trail Blazers assistant coach Jannero Pargo.

“I’m going to go to the G-League practice on the 11th. That’s my last stop before I [play] finally here,” Nurk said after practicing in Portland two days prior.

The evening following Nurk’s practice with the G-League squad, the NBA was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mar. 15 against the Houston Rockets was scheduled to be his targeted return game, which would’ve been 10 days short of the one-year mark when Nurkic went down. It was on Mar. 25, 2019 when he suffered compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula late in the game against the Brooklyn Nets.

When Nurkic tweeted out a picture of him wearing blue and yellow in a Santa Cruz Warriors practice jersey, Rip City was not having it.

So really, it’s probably best that Chicago Bulls fans never found out until today that MJ was practicing with the Warriors. It was hard enough seeing him in a Wizards jersey, wasn't it?

Sports Uncovered, the newest podcast from NBC Sports, will shine a fresh light on the most unforgettable moments in sports. Listen to the full episode of “I’m Back,” which reveals never-before-heard stories about the two-word fax from Michael Jordan that changed the course of NBA history.

Subscribe to Sports Uncovered for free wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Memories from one of the best Trail Blazers games EVER-- airing TONIGHT

Memories from one of the best Trail Blazers games EVER-- airing TONIGHT

I would rank it as one of the greatest Trail Blazer games in history. It wasn’t a playoff game or even a late-season contest with a lot of meaning, but Portland’s 130-124 triple-overtime win over the Sonics at Seattle on Dec. 1, 1990, featured all sorts of twists and turns.

And the Blazers seemed defeated countless times en route to a 14-point comeback that sent the game into overtime.

But this was a Trail Blazer team that would make a trip to the NBA Finals that season and with this win upped its record to 13-1.

It wasn’t easy and the game serves as a classic example of the kinds of things that happened before replay could be used to determine issues with the game clock.

Terry Porter, who led Portland with 38 points, made a three-point basket at the end of the first overtime to tie the game and it was an incredible effort. He was double-teamed and was stripped of the ball on the way up for the shot. He recovered in the air and somehow managed to get off the shot that tied the game.

But replays -- which could not be used by officials at the time -- showed his shot was after the horn. Too bad, Sonics.

Porter was also a central figure in getting the game into the third overtime. His team trailed by four points with seven seconds to go, when rookie Gary Payton fouled Danny Ainge -- an unnecessary foul that came from being overly aggressive.

“That mistake by Payton was a rookie mistake,‘’ Ainge said. ``Those things happen to a rookie. I think he’s going to be a great player - he just made a rookie mistake.‘’

Ainge made the free throws, then a bad inbounds pass by Xavier McDaniel set up Porter for the game-tying layup.

McDaniel led the Sonics with 41 points.

Trust me, this game is a must-watch.

And you can see it tonight on NBC Sports Northwest.

HOW TO WATCH: Trail Blazer vs. Sonics from Dec. 1, 1990

WHEN: Thursday, May 28 at 6:30pm 

Channel: NBC Sports Northwest, Channel 737 (Portland), 617 (Seattle)

CHANNEL FINDER

Stream the game here.  

Or stream the game on your phone with the 'MyTeams' App -- available in the App Store for iPhones and on Google play. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.