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Jenni Carlson: Things are about to heat up for the Thunder

by Jenni Carlson Published: April 6, 2011

All right, Thunder fans, now that the boys in blue have won the Northwest Division, it's time to make sure you're ready for the playoffs.

Here are some things you might want to consider in your postseason preparations: playoff tickets, Thunder wear, pompons, foam fingers, ear plugs.

Ear plugs?

Perhaps you've noticed, the on-court verbiage has gotten a little spicy of late.

Even though the Thunder's 112-108 division-clinching victory over the Clippers on Wednesday night was fairly tame, there has been no shortage of hair-curling, eyebrow-raising words these past couple weeks. If you sit anywhere near the Oklahoma City Arena court, you know what I'm talking about. Heck, even if you just read lips fairly well, you know what I'm talking about.

Listen, these guys have never been angels when it comes to their language, but this is a whole new level.

It's a sign of increased intensity and heightened hardiness.

That goes straight to the altar boy.

Kendrick Perkins, you'll remember, served as an altar boy when he was growing up. He wore the robe. He carried the cross. He lit the candles.

Now, the flames he throws are a bit different.

He wears a scowl, he brings a nastiness, and every now and then, he drops a verbal bomb.

Or a cluster of them.

You won't find a nicer, more unassuming guy than Perkins when he's off the court, but put him on the hardwood and you'd think he was auditioning for a Quentin Tarantino movie.

It seems to have rubbed off a bit on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Co. There seems to be an edge about this bunch now. They can be the community ambassadors off the court. They can kiss the babies. They can shake the hands.

But on the court? Their past two games are evidence of their grit. After tanking against the Clippers in L.A., the Thunder roared back by beating the same pesky Clippers in OKC less than 24 hours after beating back the Nuggets in Denver.

Darnell Mayberry's blog

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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