Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic didn't like what ESPN's Kendrick Perkins had to say about him earlier this week. He issued a response not only with his play on the court, but during his postgame interview on Saturday.
Perkins called Nurkic one of the two "worse defensive bigs in the NBA" on Thursday following Denver's 120-115 win over Portland. A tad dramatic? Perhaps. But Nurkic did indeed struggle to contain Nikola Jokic (who doesn't these days) that night as the MVP favorite poured in 36 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Well, Nurkic heard Perk's criticism and responded by helping hold Jokic to just 16 points, nine rebounds and one assist on Saturday. And Portland just so happened to beat Denver 115-95 to even the series at two games each.
Nurkic didn't just let his on-court play, particularly his defense, do the talking on Saturday, though. He called out Perkins for what he had to say during his postgame interview Saturday night.
“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," Nurkic said, via Blazers Edge. "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.”
Kendrick Perkins issued a response via Twitter, but proceeded to delete the tweet.
Here's what he originally had to say:
"I love it young fella! But one thing about old Kendrick Perkins is that I locked up the best on them...no help or double just straight up 1 on 1 Perk you got him! Good game tho," Perkins said. "Carry the hell on..."
We're not too sure why Perkins deleted the tweet. It was a decent response. Maybe the ESPN employee just wants to stay out of a feud with a current NBA player.
Regardless, Jusuf Nurkic proved Perkins and the rest of his doubters wrong with a big-time performance on Saturday.