Jusuf Nurkic returns, Norman Powell debuts for Portland Trail Blazers
Before his injury, the “Bosnian Beast” was averaging 9.8 points and 7.3 rebounds, while shooting 48.5%. Nurkic got the start, but was put on a minutes restriction. His first rebound came at 8:26 in the first as an offensive board. Not even a second later, he had his first shot attempt, a putback layup, the shot was missed, grabbed the rebound, followed by another putback layup for his first points. Nurkic finished with 8 points 8 rebounds in 18 minutes. However, he picked up 4 quick fouls midway through the second quarter.
After the game, Nurkic Tweeted out, “feel great to be out there with guys appreciate y’all.”
Nurkic’s return wasn’t the only exciting part of the game, as newly acquired Norman Powell made his Portland debut after Toronto traded him before Thursday’s trade deadline.
“Honestly, I was surprised with the way everything went down. “I just got off the phone with my agent, he told me nothing was happening, and literally 30 seconds later, my trainer walked out of the room and said, ‘Portland.’ I got traded to Portland, it was kind of a shock.” Powell told Brook Olzendam in an interview before Friday’s game.
In his debut for the Blazers, Powell picked up where he left off with the Raptors, 22 points, 7/13 in field goals, including 5/7 from 3 in 35 minutes played. The 22 points were the most in history in a Blazers debut. He started for Damian Lillard, who was out with a knee contusion.
“It felt so good. I was a little nervous before the game, first game jitters. Dame and CJ talked to me before tipoff, talked about being aggressive. They were going to make it easy out there for me. They talked to me the whole game about plays I didn’t understand, or know on defense. I just wanted to go out and be aggressive and make a statement,” Powell told Olzendam in his walk-off interview.
Portland defeated the Orlando Magic 112-105.