Watching the second half of the Blazers-Sixers game last Thursday, I was quietly experiencing a great deal of empathy for Jusuf Nurkic, who is very good at basketball, and how badly it must suck for him to have to square off against someone like Joel Embiid, who is bigger, stronger, faster, younger, and just a superior all-around talent.
I thought about how demoralizing it must be to get pushed around helplessly in the post like that and how it must feel to come face to face with someone who is quantifiably better than you at what you do. Then, just out of curiosity, I took out my phone and checked his stat line. Nurkic already had something like 20-plus points and more than 10 rebounds by that point, which elicited an involuntary cartoon double-take.
The Blazers ended up overcoming an 18-point second-half deficit and made some big plays in crunchtime to seal the comeback victory, and afterward, Nurkic had a few extra words for Embiid.