After missing the first two games in this series, Blazers’ center Jusuf Nurkic will return to the starting lineup in Game 3.
The Portland Trail Blazers need all hands on deck for this Game 3, after dropping the first two games in Oakland. They will get a big boost to their starting lineup, with the return of center Jusuf Nurkic. The Blazers’ big man was battling a fracture in his fibula and hasn’t played the last nine games for the Blazers.
There were rumors that the star center could return at some point in this series, but not many anticipated it being as early as Game 3.
Noah Vonleh has been starting in place of Nurkic this series, but hasn’t been nearly as effective. In Game 1, Vonleh had two points on 1-of-5 shooting and didn’t see much improvement in the next game. Nurkic, on the other hand, has been effective with Portland after being traded midseason from the Nuggets. He’s put up 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game with the Blazers in 19 starts.
Nurkic will be able to impose his will in the interior against the Warriors, especially against Zaza Pachulia and Draymond Green in smaller lineups. Portland will also get a big moral boost with Nurkic returning to the starting lineup. The Warriors are also banged up heading into Game 3. T
he Warriors will not have Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes or Kevon Looney tonight and Coach Steve Kerr will not be one the sidelines because of illness. Mike Brown will be leading the Warriors.
With the Warriors’ injuries and the return of Nurkic, this could be the best chance for the Blazers to get back in this series, down 2-0.