It’s not a stretch to say that Enes Kanter won this game for the Blazers with his inextinguishible desire to grab rebounds, particularly of the offensive variety. While Lameian Brickard and C.J. McChuckBrick were missing shots, Kanter just walked right in there to clean things up for them. Some clutch O-boards at the end + clutch driving flip shot with eleven seconds to go = an overall clutch performance from a guy about whom Billy Donovan famously found unplayable (him mouthing “Can’t play Kanter” to an assistant is still one of the funnier lipreads from a coach in recent memory, behind Kidd’s immortal “hit me”).
Somehow, Kanter is always in position for the rebound. It’s like he’s impossible to box out. You can try to get a body on him to keep him off the boards, but then he’ll magically teleport in front of you to get superior positioning, or he’ll just time his jump so well that it doesn’t matter whether you boxed him or not, because he knows when to jump and you don’t. He’s perpetually one of the best rebounders in the league, but I don’t even know how he does it, other than he uses his Turkish powers of, uh, power to overpower the wimps who are trying to stop him from rebounding the ball.
Concerns that the Blazers wouldn’t be able to take on the Thunder without Jusuf Nurkic are so far proven to be unfounded. Sure, the Thunder were ridiculously cold shooting the ball, but that was only because they were so demoralized by Kanter’s domination of the boards.