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Enes Kanter does not think Ersan Ilyasova had bad intentions after scary fall

Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter saw no signs of ill will on his countryman Ersan Ilyasova, after the latter had a reckless challenge on Kanter’s dunk attempt, causing a scary fall that left many New York Knicks fans holding their breath for their starting center.

The 6-foot-11, 245-pound Kanter streaked toward the rim and was challenged by a running Ilyasova, causing him to lose his balance upon landing and hit his head on the Wells Fargo Center hardwood.

Yet Kanter didn’t feel this reckless foul was meant to be intentional.

“[Ilyasova is] my homeboy,’’ Kanter said, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. “He didn’t do it on purpose. I played with him on the national team. I’m sure a lot of Turks will be happy. Go on social media, a lot of Turks will be happy he did that.’’

Turkish basketball is known for its tough approach, including no easy baskets. Yet the two players couldn’t be in two more opposite spectrums.

Ilyasova is Turkey’s golden boy of the NBA, while Kanter is the black sheep, as he’s been firm opposing the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: a man who has made his offseason travel a living nightmare — recently kept inside a Romanian airport for hours after having his passport blacklisted.

Kanter stayed in the game following the play, a nod to his hard-nosed approach to basketball and old-school swagger that has made him a Knicks’ fan favorite since arriving in The Big Apple.

“I don’t know if I hit my head but I landed on my back pretty bad,’’ Kanter said. “I didn’t want to walk to the locker room. It would be ugly. I tried to keep playing and play though it. It was painful. I didn’t want to quit on my teammates and coaches. I understand we’re not making the playoffs but it shows a lot for the young guys. We still have six games to get better for next year and don’t want to quit on them.

“I could’ve just walked to the locker room, but I played through it to show character to the young guys. You’re not going to be 100 percent every day.”

He finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds through 31 minutes, but is set to be re-evaluated in the morning to check for concussion symptoms.