Kendrick Perkins vs. Nene, Thunder vs. Nuggets would make for fun playoff viewing

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 8, 2011 at 11:55 pm •  Published: April 8, 2011
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Kendrick Perkins dislikes the NBA foes who don't end up two millimeters from his nose or shove him after getting ridden bareback.

So just imagine how Perkins feels about Nene, the Denver Nuggets' warlord of a center who with the Thunder's Simon Scowl has created the league's nastiest new rivalry.

For the second time this week, a basketball game broke out in a Perkins-Nene grudge match.

Tuesday night, a staredown. Friday night, a throwdown. Next up, a playoff showdown?

Man, this is going to be fun, if it's Thunder-Nuggets in a Western Conference series. Maybe extra fun for the Thunder, which swept two games from Denver over four days, the latter 104-89 Friday night.

The Thunder played stellar defense most of the night, refusing to allow the NBA's highest-scoring team into an offensive rhythm. Denver shot 40.3 percent from the field but was shooting just 34.1 percent with 8:20 left in the game.

No mystery there. The Thunder defense has improved dramatically since Perkins' Thunder debut March 14.

Now, decisive victories in two marquee games this week give the Thunder an apparent edge over Denver, even without homecourt advantage, which rests with Oklahoma City. Maybe Denver is exactly who the Thunder needs to draw in the first round.

And this we know. Any Boomer who takes the court against Denver without an attitude, risks the wrath of Perkins.

Perkins and Nene stood nose-to-nose Tuesday night after an altercation in Denver — “Just don't fight each other; just don't fight each other,” Thunder coach Scotty Brooks said to himself — and topped that off Friday night with a little more physical activity.

Nene, the Brazilian who prefers his last name (Hilario) not be used, made a nifty move, Perkins got caught in the air, landed on Nene's back and didn't exactly descend gingerly. Nene took exception and shoved Perkins. The S.W.A.T. team rushed in to make sure no riot ensued.

“It happens,” Perkins said. “He's very competitive, I'm very competitive. I'm not going out there trying to start something. But it is what it is.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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