By John Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Portland Trail Blazers went through to the second round of the NBA Playoffs and Enes Kanter helped out with a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double in Game 5. He made it to the press conference with his left shoulder wrapped up, but seized the opportunity to thank the New York Knicks and the teams that didn’t pick him up after he was waived midway through the 2018-19 NBA Regular Season. “First of all, I want to thank the Knicks for waiving me. I wouldn’t be here if they didn’t waive me” he pointed out.
The 26-year-old center ended up with the Blazers that defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday. They clinched the best-of-seven series in five games and will square off against the Denver Nuggets or the San Antonio Spurs in the next round. Damian Lillard’s absurd buzzer-beating game-winning shot did the trick. “I never seen anything like that before. I’ve played with many amazing players, but Dame is number one” Kanter mentioned afterwards.
The Swiss-born Turk picked up his left shoulder injury in the first half of Game 5 versus the Thunder, but got back in the action after a brief trip to the locker room. “I think its just a separation or something. We’ll see what happens” he said answering to a question on his availability ahead of the Western Conference Semifinals.
During the second half of Game 5, injured Jusuf Nurkic left his home to support his teammates from the bench. Commenting on his return to the Moda Center, the 24-year-old Bosnian center jokingly said: “I knew it was gonna make a difference”. Kanter himself mentioned: “He’s our inspiration. It was an amazing moment just to see him.”