Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic isn’t letting Kendrick Perkins’ criticism of his defensive play slip by. To recall, Perkins was critical of the Bosnian big man’s lockdown ability following the Blazers’ loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3.
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
Nurkic then proved his defense isn’t limited to the basketball court, throwing shade at Perkins while referring to the latter as a clown, per Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin.
“The guy at ESPN. The big fella. Perkins. I guess if he was in the league today he’d be a mascot. And I like him as a person.”
The Blazers’ big fella ranks 18th in defensive rating and 13th in defensive win shares among all centers who played at least 35 games in the regular season. Stats don’t lie and these numbers suggest he’s not a slouch on the defensive end.
Nurkic attested to his capability by limiting Most Valuable Player favorite Nikola Jokic to only 16 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field in the Blazers’ Game 4 rout.
To be fair, Perkins was able to hold his own against some of the league’s best big men during his heyday for the Boston Celtics. His contributions translated to wins that even the great Kobe Bryant recognized him as the “best one-on-one post defender” at the time, something Perkins immediately waved in front of Nurkic’s face Saturday night.
Hey big @bosnianbeast27 you still had SIMILAC on your breath when I was putting in work, but keep working Big Fella you’ll get there!!! Carry on… pic.twitter.com/K3Mp1d37FW
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 29, 2021
With their series now tied at two games apiece, the Blazers will return to the Mile High City for Game 5 as another opportunity for Nurkic to shut Perkins up beckons.