Perkins Feels Heat, Turns It Up

OKLAHOMA CITY – Kendrick Perkins could hear the whispers on the street, the loud statements on TV from Charles Barkley. He could feel the heat from some of the critics who even suggested that Thunder coach Scott Brooks should take him out of the starting lineup.

He was too slow and plodding to play in tandem on the front line with Serge Ibaka against the ball movement of the Spurs, too ineffective against Tony Parker’s drives on the pick and roll.

“In that last game Parker was able to get in there and get off his shots pretty easy,” Perkins said. “So tonight I said, ‘I want to see what you got.’ ” I wanted to challenge him. I wanted to make him really work for it.”

Perkins toiled ferociously from the opening tip in Game 3, helping set the pace in the Thunder’s 8-0 start and was a key factor in making Parker look mortal. After making 16 of 21 shots and scoring 34 points in Game 2, Parker made only 6-for-12 for 16 points and also committed five of the Spurs 21 turnovers.

Parker’s drop in production was the result of the OKC guards Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook fighting over screens and also Perkins stepping out on the pick and roll to cut off any path to the basket.

“Me personally, I said I was gonna do a better job on the pick and roll,” Perkins said. “I knew I had to come up. He was hitting. He was too comfortable. So I knew I had to come up on the screens.

“I watched Game 2 and seen what I needed to do a better job of. We all did a better job. I thought our guards got into the ball today and got over the screen, which helped a lot. We had active hands and we just played nice team defense.”

When Parker was unable to wheel and deal and dish from the middle of the OKC lineup, the Spurs tried to run their offense from the low post through Tim Duncan, but were quickly spinning their wheels.

It was a different team overall in terms of execution and emotion for the Thunder. And it was a giant leap forward for Perkins after taking so much head for OKC falling into the 0-2. At the end of the night, he scored just four points, but Perkins also grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots.

After being accused of being too passive in San Antonio, Perkins even closed out on Manu Ginobili late in the second quarter and blocked a 3-point attempt 25 feet from the basket.

“I don’t know. I just didn’t want him to score on me,” he said with a grin.

The already deafening crowd rose to its feel and took the roar to a new level.

After all the heat, it was just good for Perk to feel the warmth again.


  1. Vrapz says:

    Pop wll use blair in game 4….after what blair showed in those garbage time.but still okc will win tonite

  2. Krespino says:

    My worry is this series will be too long and tiresome for the eventual winner and that will work well for The Heat. I believe both The Spurs and The Thunder deserve to win the NBA this year and either one of them should, not the Miami Heat. I would think OKC would have better chances of beating The Heat.

  3. #1HeatFan says:

    There is no doubt that Perkins is a tough yet clean player. He’s not arrogant and he’s not going to allow anyone to push him around. If I were Perk, I would take my talent to South Beach if OKC loses. 2012 Miami Heat Starting Five: Nash, Wade, James, Bosh and PERKINS. Boo-yah!

  4. berkamore says:

    That’s why I love the Playoffs. It’s like a chess game. Perkins did what he had to do and his defense was just terrific yesterday. Then again, some teams haven’t been able to defend the pick and roll for YEARS but that’s why they are no longer playing. LOL.

    But again, great game by Perk. Now I can’t wait to see what Pops is gonna come up with in game four…..

  5. CarlD says:

    This, hopefully, will continue to be an exciting series. I can’t wait for the next game. I am a Thunder Fan by far, but honestly believe that either team will take the Eastern Conference offering, no matter who it is.

  6. Mimi Houston says:

    Remember, OKC were down 2. So, in order for them to win the series, they will have to win the next three…???? And Spurs only need two more wins. We clearly don’t expect OKC to be that good. They had to win last night otherwise they would have been in 0-3 hole. The way OKC played as a team yesterday is how Spurs play everyday…i don’t see them repeating same. They are just not a team oriented…everyone has to score for them to win. On the other hand, Spurs have won 20 straight…that wears you out after awhile. Spurs have the best coach…they will regroup and start another streak!!!!

  7. Fefe (Nets) says:

    Honestly I will be happy with either team qualifying for the NBA Finals…

    But let’s not be hasty: this series will be hard…. Thunder Fans, don’t think that because OKC won 1 game means they will win in 5/6… And Spurs fans, don’t think it will be easy to win the two next games, it can go longer…

    Good luck to both teams!!!

  8. John From OKC says:

    Having watched him play with my adapted city’s Celtics it’s no surprise to me that Perkins is still going full blast. He has some flaws as a player, but laziness never has been one of them.

    BTW, Josh, Perk may not smile much during games, but between games he is reputedly a very friendly, cheerful person. When his team is leading late in the 4th quarter then you’ll see him smile!


  9. Naismith says:

    The Thunder gave away game 1 , game 2 the Spurs dominated , game 3 The Thunder dominated. The Spurs have to play better defense. OKC can still win this series they have to take the ball to the basket and not settle for jumpshots. On the defensive end they have to continue creating turnovers to get into their transition game. The Spurs are great offensively but are meh defensively , they can’t stop penetration. The Spurs aren’t going to win game 4 if they don’t improve on the defensive end they have to stop penetration and just give more effort.

  10. Duke of San Antonio says:

    As for Harden, I hope the guy will exhibit some dose of humility. Didn’t like the way he stared at Tiago. He may play good basketball but good attitude is the key to success.

    • Mo says:

      Hahaha, he has bad attitude for staring someone down? Then I guess Kobe, Jordan, Shaq, etc. wasn’t successful.

      • Duke of San Antonio says:

        Dude, I didn’t say he has a bad attitude. I said good attitude is the key to success. As for the people you’ve mentioned, they have proven something already. It’s what you call bragging rights.

    • says:

      come on man, harden was just making his presense known! splitter fouled him hard on that play, give harden a break

    • Mr. Hooper says:

      But we don’t know what might have been going on between those two. We just watch the game from a safe distance far from off the ball “contact”.

  11. Duke of San Antonio says:

    OKC just played better in Game 3, offensively and defensively. Duncan forced a lot of his shots and they went on that ineffective low post play several times – thinking that the pick-and-roll play will be defended well. OKC outhustled the Spurs both on ends of the floor too – resulting to 21 turnovers for the Spurs. Popovich will surely make the necessary adjustments for the next 2 games. They just gave the OKC crowd something to cheer about. Scoring for OKC was somewhat fairly distributed compared to Games 1 and 2. They shut down Durant and Westbrook very well but failed to neutralize Sefolosha. Some calls against the Spurs were out of this world too. My prediction, Spurs in 5 games.

  12. Sanjeev says:

    One thing is for sure, there’s no match of the quality of ‘Screens’ Perkins gives. Ibaka is great great shot blocker, but giving screens is not his forte. Thats why each player in the Thunder lineup is so important.

  13. Suriken says:

    Excellent defense mixed with smart and unselfish ball movement by OKC. That’s what young guns have learnt from the first two games and initially succeded to implement. OKC big three finally managed to realize it’s about 5 on 5 basketball, not 3 on 3, or sometimes 3 on 5. Can’t wait to see next game and new adjustments from Pop. Tim has to step up finally!

  14. Kiran Kumar says:

    Thunder…. will win for sure in 6 games. Too hot for spurs to stop, too fast to keep up with as the series progresses the youth will prevail the only thing now is thunder should keep there cool and role players need to contribute the way they did in game 3. Go thunder Go

  15. i thought the spurs would tie the record of 11 straight playoff wins by the lakers – too bad they fell short

  16. John says:

    Well we just learned how to beat the spurs. Simple play defense. Stop Parker stop the spurs to easy. It should be a good game 4 but I think OKC found the way to beat them. Pop might have some changes but Okc has found the key.

  17. Sam says:

    OKC played outstanding defense with blocks, deflections, steals and basically stopped the free flowing basketball of the SPURS. Baka and Perkin were just outstanding guarding the interior while the guards like Sefolosha and Westbrooks were all over the place covering the exterior, extending the defense all the way to the 3 point lines. OKC has responded !!! It seems that they have plugged every hole possible. The question to ask is what can SPUR do to win again?

  18. Ice042 HeatFan says:

    its good to see K-Perk finally found his groove hes gonna be a factor if not a major factor to the thunder but for sure the spurs will make key adjustments following game 4 this series is getting quite interesting

  19. Gareth says:

    Maybe he was just more relaxed and pleasured going into game 3 “after taking so much head for OKC falling into the 0-2”. Hampered in game 2 by some sexual frustration, Perk?

  20. lakermig says:

    I would still be surprised if they get another win.To get this win the entire team bench players included had to really step it up and had to drop the spurs 20 pts below their average score.I can see that happen again.Another 3 times is just absurd.

  21. deejay says:

    way to go Perkins. I knew yo had in you.

  22. christopher says:

    go perkk!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Van_Haylem_iii says:

    in game 3, I saw flashes of KG in Perk’s eyes and intensity. Perk really admires KG. I wonder how he’ll deal with KG IF they meet in the finals.

  24. robindesbois says:

    I think Ibaka’s job was better than Perkin’s.
    Four points and 8 rebonds in 24 minutes cant be enough for a starter.
    I’m french. I don’t speak english very well so I’m sorry if I do mistakes…

    • Beber says:

      T’inquiètes je pense que tout le monde a compris ;-D
      Perkins n’a jamais eu des stats monstrueuses mais sa présence en impose en défense (grosse connerie des Celtics de l’avoir transféré la saison dernière…) Et puis il y a un “big 3” qui alimente la marque régulièrement 😉

      The Thunder “Big 3” socres while Ibaka and Perkins mainly defend, grab reobounds en block shots. Perkins doesn’t to score a lot : he’s mainly used for his presence in the paint (Danny Ainge should regret the tarde last year : whith Perkins they had another chance to get a ring… now the Thunder have this chance !)

  25. arriaba says:


  26. arriaba says:

    Go Spurs!

  27. nobroom says:

    Puttting Sefolosha on Tony P was a good adjustment for Brooks, The Thunder played with ferocity and energy, their desperation was fueled by the home crowd and delivered a must win. Good overall game for the whole team. Now can the Thunder keep it up for the rest of the series is the question. This is the only way they will win the series. I wouldnt count on the Spurs coming out flat again, and Im sure Pop will also brainstorm some type of change to get his team back on track. The next game will be the best game of this match up. I also enjoy the fact the refs are letting them play.

  28. APOL says:

    extend my condolence to parker and comp.

  29. Josh says:

    The thing that caught my attention most about this article is the picture of kendrick perkins smiling..that never happens

  30. As much as Spurs fans wanted a sweep, they were due for a loss if such a thing is POP and his boys will regroup, and I anticipate a much closer game 4..there r two very different personnel dynamics being displayed in both conference finals series..check it out

  31. GoSpurs says:

    As a Spurs fan, i didn’t expect the Thunder to go down easy. they played their heart out in game 3 to avoid the 3-0 ditch and showed they were still kicking. But they’re going to have to keep up that mentality if they want to win, we’ll just have to wait and see if the thunder can keep this up on saturday, game on thunder. Spurs in 5

    • Geo says:

      you must be chewing your own cud and smoking your own crud…..Spurs will not win IN OKC and the only way that the spurs can win this series is by winning game 7

      • GoSpurs says:

        Pop and the Spurs aren’t a team that just drops and allows a consecutive loss, theres a reason Pop won coach of the year. they learn from their losses and come back stronger, game 3 was big for Thunder, it was a desperation game to get back in for the possible bounce back, but just because Thunder won one game in OKC doesnt mean that its going to be the same. game 4 is gunna be a toss up for sure

      • says:

        ^i second that. no way okc is gonna go down easily. dont underestimate the power of okc

      • Spurrred says:

        I am a huge Spurs fan, and I fully expect the Thunder to win game 4 riding he wave of emotion still, but Spurs will deflate the Thunder after going up 3-2 then close game 6


      as an obvious statements fan, i love it when people take time to write things that dont require any speculation or creativity. the redundancy is exhilirating and thought provoking. it really adds to the overall discussion in such a subtractive and mindless way. you’d be a great nba talk show host once the zombiepocalypse takes over.