The Portland Trail Blazers managed to secure the crucial Game 4 victory last night against the Denver Nuggets and tie the series at 2-2. Blazers center Jusuf Nurkić played a good game with 17 points,6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Still, his presence was felt mainly on the defensive end, playing great defense on Nikola Jokić, limiting the potential MVP to just 16 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Nurkić’s defense has been the main topic of discussion in this series, as he couldn’t contain Jokić in the first three games, causing many fans and analysts to criticize coach Stotts alongside his centers Nurkić and Kanter for their defensive strategies. One of them was the always controversial ESPN analyst and former player Kendrick Perkins, who went to Twitter to share his criticism for the Blazers coach and big men:
Mike Malone flat out coached Terry Stotts!!! Nurkic and Kanter are the worse defensive bigs in the NBA! Btw shoutout to Austin Rivers tonight for proving all the haters wrong…I just remember them saying he was in the NBA because of his Pops. Carry the hell on…
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 28, 2021
Nurkić obviously heard the chatter and got extra motivated for Game 4, playing his best game of the series on both ends of the floor. After the game, Nurkić made sure to let everybody know he heard Perkins’s comments and shared some choice words for him:
“I don’t know if I can talk about defense, some guy, clown out there saying I’m one of the worst in the league. The guy named, I guess he’s an analyst, ESPN guy Perkins, the big fella Perkins, Kendrick Perkins. I guess in this league today, he’d be a mascot, I don’t know why he claimed that and I like him as a person too. To say that stuff that was weak, I know he got to get with tweets, but I’m not here for that. Coming from the guy who couldn’t play in this league now.”Jusuf Nurkic
It didn’t take Perkins long to respond to Nurkić, as he gave him his props but still managed to big himself up, sharing an old video of the late great Kobe Bryant calling Perkins the best post-defender in the league.
A pretty funny beef between two talkative fellow big men. Now the series shifts back to Denver for a pivotal Game 5, as the Blazers will need more games like this from Nurkić, especially on the defensive side of the floor if they want to advance to the second round. We can’t wait to see, as it will be a tight battle centered around two strong, skilled centers battling in the post—something we don’t see as often in today’s NBA.