Trail Blazers Clinch Playoff Berth in Win vs. Nets After Jusuf Nurkic's Injury

Megan ArmstrongContributor IIIMarch 26, 2019

Fans reach for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) following the Blazers' 109-104 victory against the Utah Jazz in an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers are playoff-bound after beating the Brooklyn Nets 148-144 in double overtime on Monday night.


The @trailblazers have secured their spot in the playoffs! 🔐 #RipCity | #GameNight https://t.co/XQKSNgWMRm

Rip City clinched its sixth consecutive postseason berth. 

The celebrating will surely be subdued as Jusuf Nurkic suffered what appeared to be a serious leg injury after taking a nasty fall during the second overtime. He had to be stretchered off the floor and was taken to a local hospital, according to ESPN's Royce Young. Coach Terry Stotts called the injury "devastating" after the game, per Young.

After acquiring 26-year-old center Enes Kanter—following a post-trade deadline buyout with the Knicks—to pair with Nurkic, the Blazers have bullied their way through the Western Conference in the final weeks of the season. 

However, All-Star point guard Damian Lillard is still the cornerstone of the franchise and has been the common factor in the Blazers making the playoffs since Portland drafted him in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft.

With fellow guard CJ McCollum expected to miss the upcoming four-game road trip with a left knee injury, Lillard and the Blazers are suddenly dealing with some serious injury concerns ahead of the postseason. 

But that doesn't take away from the impressive season Portland has had in 2018-19. It's one thing to make the NBA playoffs; it's another thing entirely to make noise in the playoffs, especially in a stacked Western Conference.