Jusuf Nurkic is done, a crushing blow to the Blazers

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We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter.

The Portland Trail Blazers would have been better off losing in regulation on Monday night. Hosting the Brooklyn Nets, the Blazers were down one with time ticking away when Seth Curry came up with a steal and got fouled with a chance to give Portland a lead. Instead, he split the free throws and we went to overtime. That didn’t settle anything, and so we went to double overtime.

There, Jusuf Nurkic suffered a brutal leg fracture, bad enough to have him carted off the floor and, according to early reports, bad enough that he’ll miss the rest of the season and the playoffs. (Bad enough that you won’t see it on any highlight shows, thank goodness.)

The Blazers went on to win the game and clinch an inevitable playoff spot, which really does not matter in the grand scheme.

It’s a terrible blow to Nurkic, having a breakout season in Portland as the true No. 2 star next to Damian Lillard. Let’s hope this is just a career pause and not a reset. Paul George is the example to hope for here. It’s a terrible blow to Lillard, Terry Stotts, and the other primary Blazers, who now face a short home stretch to adjust to life without a vital and beloved piece of the ever-difficult puzzle, and face a difficult offseason picking up the pieces. (And who also had to watch a friend suffer a really ugly injury, one that could happen to any of them.)

And it’s a terrible blow for Blazers fans, whose dreams always seem to be dashed by something weird, something dramatic, something unfair. Of course, fairness has nothing to do with anything in modern pro sports. It still stings when things so cruel happen.

(This also happened to be the annual Blazer’s Edge Night, where readers and writers of the SB Nation site Blazer’s Edge send more than 2,000 kids and chaperones to an NBA game through charitable giving. Kudos to those who helped all those people to a wonderful barnburner of a game that turned sideways late.)

you would have thought Booker hitting 60 would have sent the game to overtime. What an unreal finish.

REWINDER. 2001 NBA Finals. Game 1. Allen Iverson. Ty Lue. REWINDER.

Sabrina Ionescu, the Westbrook of college basketball, Ricky Davis’d a triple-double at the end of a victorious tournament game. Be still my heart.

Credit Daryl Morey and James Harden with the Rockets’ extended run of success.

The Celtics are getting more weird Kyrie Irving quotes after another weird losing streak. Nothing a bizarro loss to the tanking Cavaliers can’t fix.

Phenomenal story on Fran Belibi, the Stanford-bound basketball star who went viral for dunks but has actually always dreamed of becoming a doctor.

Sweet 16 teams’ chances of winning the men’s tournament, ranked.

Cookie Mom.

John Gonzalez on whether this is Doc Rivers’ best season as a coach.

Be excellent to each other.

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