Portland Trail Blazers: Four forgotten moments that led up to Damian Lillard’s legendary shot

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /
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Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

3. The story of the Jusuf Nurkic t-shirt

Since its exception, the Portland Trail Blazers have consistently fielded one of the NBA’s great home court advantages. Once ranked as the No. 4 team in toughest places to play, Portland fans have had a hand in ensuring the Blazers are among the most successful teams at home. But in closing out a team with two All-Stars, one more push was needed.

The legend of this story continues to grow. In the pregame of last season’s Western Conference Finals, Nurkic told ESPN that with four minutes left to go in the third quarter, he threw on a fit — one that included a custom-made “Got Bricks? Next Question” Westbrook jab — with four minutes left in the third quarter.

By the time NBA on TNT cameras panned to Portland’s surprise appearance, the Blazers trailed 113-105, with just three minutes to go.

The Blazers players took to Nurkic’s appearance the same way many of us did. Perhaps the closest non-NBA comparison: have you ever seen the countdown before a new participant joins the Royal Rumble, and it’s someone you haven’t seen in quite some time?

Blazers player Meyers Leonard said he almost shed a tear of happiness. Lillard doubled down with a joyous take, wondering what Nurkic’s plus-minus was.

+11. In about 200 seconds. That just might be a record.

In whichever case, Nurkic’s impact was tried and true. Westbrook had two more misses to add to his game-high 20 missed shots, and the Blazers were able to take advantage, using a 13-2 run to end the game.