By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
After debuting in the Orlando bubble with 30 points, Jusuf Nurkic followed up with an 18-point, 19-rebound double-double aiding the Portland Trail Blazers to the key win, 110-102, over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday evening. The starting Bosnian center also threw in three assists, three blocks, and one steal in 29 minutes.
“I think it is challenging. The way they play is interesting. I don’t like it. I am just glad we won the game,” said Nurkic following the match replying to a question on chasing around the Rockets and defending three-point shots throughout the contest.
Damian Lillard scored 21 points but fell short of a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists. C.J. McCollum finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. On to the losing side, James Harden made 23 points, Jeff Green 22, Danuel House Jr. 17, and Russell Westbrook 15.
Dragic hurt in Heat win
The Miami Heat never trailed on the way to the win, 112-106, versus the Boston Celtics. Goran Dragic made 20 points, also put up three rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals, but was escorted to the locker room in the last minute due to a right ankle injury. X-rays were negative.
The Celtics, now 1-2 in the bubble, featured six double-digit scorers, including Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter. The German big posted 11 points, five rebounds, and two assists, his reserve added ten points, five rebounds, and one assist.
Rubio, Saric help Suns stay in the race
Another solid outing for Ricky Rubio saw him at 18 points, four assists, and three rebounds. Fellow European Dario Saric threw in 13 points, eight rebounds, and one assist off the bench.
Ivica Zubac banked an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double but turned the ball around down the stretch granting the Suns one more opportunity to close out the exciting game.
Pacers stop Magic
Despite Nikola Vucevic producing a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double, the Orlando Magic lost, 120-109, to the Indiana Pacers. Evan Fournier had seven points, six rebounds, and three assists in losing effort.
1. x-Milwaukee Bucks 54-14
2. x-Toronto Raptors 48-18
3. x-Boston Celtics 44-23
4. x-Miami Heat 43-25
5. x-Indiana Pacers 42-26
6. x-Philadelphia 76ers 40-27
7. Brooklyn Nets 32-35
8. Orlando Magic 32-26
9. Washington Wizards 24-43
1. z-Los Angeles Lakers 51-15
2. x-Los Angeles Clippers 46-22
3. x-Denver Nuggets 44-23
4. x-Houston Rockets 42-25
5. x-Utah Jazz 42-26
6. x-Oklahoma City Thunder 41-25
7. x-Dallas Mavericks 41-29
8. Memphis Grizzlies 32-36
9. Portland Trail Blazers 31-38
10 San Antonio Spurs 29-37.
11. New Orleans Pelicans 29-38
12. Phoenix Suns 29-39
13. Sacramento Kings 28-39
z-clinched top spot in conference
x-clinched a playoff spot
Photo Credit: Getty Images