In what became an inspiring win for the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the game’s expectations fell nothing short of a tough, hard-fought battle. The team needed to dig deep, persevere and overcome adversity to get past the deep lineup of the Denver Nuggets.
Unfortunately, the win came at the cost of two integral members of the Trail Blazers’ lineup, who put their bodies on the line to obtain the win. Rodney Hood, a key bench player that has helped sustain the team’s success in the series, injured his leg with a left knee hyperextension and left in the third quarter of Game 7. Hood, who was instrumental in cementing their 4OT, Game 3 win with a dagger with 18.6 seconds left, has remained optimistic that he will be able to play in Game 1 of the upcoming series.
Enes Kanter also faced upward battles throughout the series. Not only had he taken over the starting center role after Jusuf Nurkic suffered a gruesome leg injury at the close of the season, but he has had to take on the challenge of playing in the postseason while observing Ramadan for the first time and nursing an injured shoulder.
For those observing the holiday, one must fast from sunrise until sunset each day, abstaining completely from food and water, to commemorate the month that God began to reveal the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. As it coincides with the NBA playoffs, Kanter must test the limitations of his mental and physical strength.
Game 7 began at 1:30pm in Denver, CO this past weekend, therefore, Kanter had to fast until sundown. Throughout the entire game, he was unable to take a sip of water. If that’s not impressive enough, he also finished the game playing 40 of the 48 minutes and had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
After the game, Kanter opened up about playing during the holiday and shared, “More than anything, I want to be an example for children everywhere, showing them that you can thrive when challenged – fasting for Ramadan, for instance, but also going all out in the NBA Playoffs.”
The Portland Trail Blazers will face off in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors.