Jusuf Nurkic saw Kendrick Perkins’ comments about his defensive abilities, and he didn’t appreciate them.
The Trail Blazers center called out the ESPN analyst after Portland’s 115-95 win over Denver on Saturday, which evened the first-round series at two games apiece. Nurkic’s anger stemmed from a tweet sent out Friday in which Perkins called Nurkic and Enes Kanter “the [worst] defensive bigs in the NBA.”
Nurkic, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds, two blocks and one steal in Game 4, didn’t hold back during his postgame media availability.
“In this league today, he’d be a mascot,” Nurkic said. “I don’t know why he claimed things like that. And I like him as a person, too. But people don’t understand the roles. [I’m] not saying I am a franchise player here. . . . To say that stuff, that was weak, man. I know he’s got to get retweets and stuff like that, but I ain’t here for that, man.”
Of course, Perkins was not going to let that slide. The 2008 NBA champion responded by sharing an old video of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant praising Perkins.
“Perk is, in my opinion, he’s the best one-on-one post defender in the league,” Bryant said in the clip. “He’s that good in the low post. . . . He’s also a very good help defender and screen-and-roll defender.”
While Nurkic did a good job slowing down Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in Game 4 (16 points, 7-of-18 shooting), he will have to do it a couple more times if he wants to keep Perkins quiet.
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