Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic had his way with Joel Embiid during Thursday’s game.
Nurkic scored 21 points and hauled in 12 rebounds in the 114-110 win, and also embarrassed the Sixers big man with a great spin move in the post on one particular play. The Blazers center made it difficult for Embiid on the defensive end as well, helping hold him to a nine-of-21 shooting performance, and only nine rebounds.
Not only did Nurkic get the best of Embiid on the court, but he also had some choice words about the Sixers star after the game as well. When asked about what it’s like to play against Embiid, Nurkic had this to say to reporters:
“He tries to be more famous than a player,” Nurkic said, in a video posted by NBC Sports Northwest. “I respect him, he’s a good player, you know. He’s not about tough, he’s a skill player who is getting tired, it looks like, and when you play defense on him and play offense on him, and when you’re attacking, he is getting tired more.”
There’s a lot to digest there, and it’s interesting that Nurkic believes Embiid is getting tired as games wear on. Embiid has battled injury issues in the past, and only played in 31 games last season. Not only that, he’s already logged more minutes this season than during his entire rookie campaign, so that argument may hold some weight.
As for Nurkic’s comments about Embiid focusing on his fame, he’s not the first to criticize the Sixers big man over his social media activity. Embiid is one of the most active NBA players on Twitter and Instagram, and he’d be wise to devote some of that time to improving his game.
It’s likely that Embiid will eventually provide some sort of response to Nurkic’s remarks, so stay tuned.