The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets at Moda Center last night, 119-108, sending the Western Conference Semifinals back to Colorado for a series-deciding Game 7 this coming Sunday.
Up to this point, the series has been relatively civil, questionable plays and a few minor skirmishes aside. With the final game approaching, however, relations between the two teams are beginning to get a bit tense.
In the fourth quarter, a shoving match broke out between Seth Curry and ex-Blazer Will Barton, resulting in both players getting hit with technical fouls. When asked about the altercation after the game, Curry responded by saying, "They got a few sassy dudes over there, front runners."
Then, a few minutes after the Barton-Turner scuffle, Evan Turner decided to celebrate the win by flipping off the Nuggets' bench.
The temerity is growing beyond the players on the court, too. After CJ McCollum iced the game with a three-pointer, the Nuggets' radio announcers accused injured center (and former Nugget) Jusuf Nurkic of "acting tough guy" on the bench. Analyst Scott Hastings suggested someone "kick him in his shin"—the shin which you might recall snapped in half six weeks ago. The comment was met with a chuckle from Hastings' broadcast partner, Jason Kosmicki.
To be fair, Nurkic engaged in some boundary-pushing trolling as well.
Nurkic—who's taken to wearing custom T-shirts during the playoffs—showed up to the game with a shirt bearing the names of 10 people who died fighting in the Bosnian War, a conflict mostly fought by Bosnian Muslims and Serb/Croat minorities. Nurkic is a Bosnian Muslim, while the Nuggets' star center, Nikola Jokic, is ethnically Serbian.
Related: 37 Reasons to Love the Blazers Right Now.