Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendrick Perkins tries to get himself going by picking a fight
Perkins confessed to his kooky ways after the Thunder routed the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday in Chesapeake Energy Arena. “Pick somebody on the other team that I don't like and go at them.”
Kendrick Perkins knows he hasn't had the best start to this season.
So he's decided to do something about it.
For Perkins, that typically means picking a fight.
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That's what he did in the Thunder's 106-91 win over Cleveland on Sunday night. Cavs forward Alonzo Gee, in the first half, just happened to be the target. Perkins and Gee got tangled up away from the ball, with threatening elbows elevated to the neck area during a standstill staredown that had the potential to turn serious. Gee, arms raised as if to plead innocence, tried to walk away. Perkins, of course, pushed forward.
It was all part of his plan.
“I'm just trying to get myself going,” Perkins explained. “Get the team fired up.”
In the next breath, Perk confessed to his kooky ways.
“Pick somebody on the other team that I don't like,” he said, “and go at them.”
Before Gee, it was Brandon Knight, the Detroit Pistons point guard who Perkins applied full-court pressure to on Friday night. Thunder coach Scott Brooks jokingly labeled Perkins' one-man press “The Perkinator.” It was seen again Sunday night, this time against reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.
“That's Perk,” Brooks said. “He tries to get himself going, and he tries to get our players going. He's an emotional guy. Every now and then he tries to get me going, and I tell him he just needs to chill out there. But with Perk, he is that. If he doesn't do that, he's not as effective.”
Perhaps that partially explains Perkins' performance through the Thunder's first five games. Over that span, Perkins almost appeared to be coasting, playing with far less than his normal fire. He averaged just three points on a solid 50 percent shooting, with a 5.6-rebound average in those contests. But something was missing, and Brooks, as he generally does, insists it's never about statistics with Perkins.
“He hasn't played (any) basketball this summer,” Brooks reminded. “He had two surgeries that prevented him from doing that. He played occasionally during training camp. A lot of it was no contact. A lot of it was by himself. So he's only really played about a month of basketball with us. So he's still getting a feel, and he's still a ways away from where we need him to be. But I see the last couple of games his energy is better, his feel for the basketball is better.”
In the last two games, Perkins has seemed to regain his passion. His activity on the court has been up, and so has his production. Over the first five games, for instance, Perkins was a net minus-13 in the plus-minus category. In the past two games, he's been a net plus-four. In those two games, Perkins scored 19 points with nine rebounds, seven assists and only two turnovers in 54 minutes.