Jusuf Nurkic makes history despite Phoenix Suns' loss to Thunder

The Phoenix Suns dropped another game to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, but center Jusuf Nurkic still created some history in the process.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns
Oklahoma City Thunder v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns finished off a week to forget on Sunday, as they dropped a game to the contender Oklahoma City Thunder. The 118-110 loss once again highlighting that this team is a rung below the top outfits in the Western Conference, with time beginning to run out to close the gap.

Devin Booker missed the contest after a nasty ankle roll the previous night in what was also a home loss to the Houston Rockets - and despite the initial x-ray on his foot coming back negative - it remains to be seen how long he will be sidelined for.

About the only bright spot on a tough night for the Suns was center Jusuf Nurkic, as he set an impressive franchise record in the loss.

Despite suffering a sprained neck the previous night against the Rockets, Nurkic started the game and played 32 minutes. Neither of those facts brought about the subsequent record - although it should be pointed out that he gutted it out when the team needed him - but the 31 rebounds certainly was worth talking about.

Not only did it set the record for the most boards in a single game in franchise history, it was the most rebounds by any player since the 2010-11 season. A memorable night for the big man, that may give the Suns a window into how they can get the better of certain matchups once the playoffs begin.

The Thunder are young, long, athletic and interchangeable across the board. But they clearly struggle against a more conventional center such as Nurkic. The big Bosnian able to get inside and have his way, as he has against opponents as illustrious as Anthony Davis so far this season.

Better yet, he also realizes that his skills won't always work and that he may sometimes have to sit in crucial moments of games. More than once this season he has not played entire fourth quarters, with head coach Frank Vogel opting to go with Kevin Durant at the five because of what that allows the rest of the five-man group on the court to look like and execute.

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You can say what you want about Nurkic, but owning a franchise record for rebounds when greats such as Charles Barkley once played for the team is no mean feat. Even more so when you consider how much the game has changed and gone away from traditional big men too. This season has not gone the way the Suns would have liked - but for Nurkic personally - he has been vindicated.