PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkić needed to get something off his chest before he would answer any questions about his defense in the Blazers 115-95 Game 4 win over the Denver Nuggets.
“I don’t know if I can talk about defense if some clown out there says I’m the worst one in the league,” Nurkić said.
When asked who said that, Nurkić clarified.
“ESPN guy, Perkins. He’s the big fella, Kendrick Perkins.”
“In this league today, he’d be a mascot,” Nurkić went on. “I don’t know why he’d claim things like that, and I like him as a person too.”
This appears to be the tweet the Bosnian center is referring to:
In it, he calls Nurkić and Blazers’ back-up center, Enes Kanter, “the worse defensive bigs in the NBA.”
Nurkić’s defense on MVP candidate Nikola Jokić was a big part of the early tone the Blazers set that led to their blowout Game 4 win to even the series up at two games apiece.
“It was the key to our defense,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said of Nurkić’s play and his ability to stay out of foul trouble after fouling out in Games 2 and 3.
“People don’t understand the roles. We aren’t saying, I’m not the franchise player here right? And obviously you’re not trying to let people score but 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.”
Nurkić also brought up ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
“I see Stephen A coming after me, he’s sick of me, I don’t know if I can do anything about it,” Nurkić said. “Those guys do what they do and I respect it at some point but I’m not worried too much about them. But, coming from the guy who, like I said, couldn’t play in this league right now, not even a chance.”
It didn’t take long for Perkins to hear about Nurkić’s comments and respond.
So for those keeping track at home, the NBA has gone exactly zero days since being petty.