Jusuf Nurkic saw Kendrick Perkins’ comments about his defensive skills, and he didn’t like them.
The Trail Blazers center called analyst ESPN after Portland’s 115-95 win over Denver on Saturday, which tied the first-round series at two games apiece. Nurkic’s anger arose out of a tweet sent on Friday in which Perkins called Nurkic and Enes Kanter ” [worst] the great defensemen of the NBA. “
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Mike Malone trained Terry Stotts thoroughly !!! Nurkic and Kanter are the worst defensive players in the NBA! Btw yelling at Austin Rivers tonight for proving all the haters wrong … I just remember they said he was in the NBA because of his Pops. Go on hell …
– Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 28, 2021
Nurkic, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds, two blocks and one steal in Game 4, didn’t hesitate during his post-game media availability.
“In this league today, he would be a mascot,” Nurkic said. “I don’t know why he pretended things like that. And I love him as a person too. But people don’t understand the roles. [I’m] don’t say I’m a franchise player here. . . . Saying that stuff was weak, man. I know he must have retweets and stuff like that, but I’m not here for that, man. “
Of course, Perkins wasn’t going to let this go. The 2008 NBA champion responded by sharing an old video of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant praising Perkins.
“Perk is, in my opinion, the best head-to-head post defenseman in the league,” Bryant said in the clip. “He’s so good at the low post… He’s also a very good assist defender and a screen and roller defender.”
While Nurkic did a good job slowing down Nuggets star Nikola Jokic in Game 4 (16 points, 7 of 18 shots), he will have to do it a few times if he is to keep Perkins quiet.