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Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendrick Perkins, OKC's defensive anchor, shows he can score

Kendrick Perkins collects 17 points, shoots 8 for 9 from the field to help Thunder hammer Phoenix
By John Rohde Published: February 8, 2013

No telling how many times Thunder coach Scott Brooks has come to the defense of Kendrick Perkins' offense, or lack thereof.

Brooks constantly preaches OKC traded for Perkins two years ago this month because of his defensive presence, not his offensive prowess.

The Beast from Beaumont “will not fill up a stat sheet,” Brooks repeatedly has said.

All that changed Friday night in the Thunder's 127-96 annihilation of the Phoenix Suns in which Perkins exploded for 17 points and shot 8 for 9 from the field.

It was his highest point total in 132 career games with the Thunder. Perkins also had nine rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals, all in 27 minutes.

“He's great,” point guard Russell Westbrook said of Perkins, a 10-year veteran with a career scoring average of 6.1 and a 4.4 average this season. “He's a great guy and he has confidence. That's what we need is for everybody to be confident.”

Perkins was in the center of a balanced scoring attack in which all 13 Thunder players scored. Five OKC players finished with at least 16 points. The last time that happened was Nov. 20, 2009, against the Washington Wizards.

“I'm just going to keep working,” Perkins said. “Guys are doubling Kevin (Durant) and Russ now, so I'm just trying to find the open spot. I've been watching a lot of film and going to the gym and working on my game. I'm just trying to find an open spot when they get doubled.”

As you might expect, Perkins said it was defense that turned Friday night's game into a blowout.

OKC led 55-50 at halftime and erupted for a 21-0 run midway through the third quarter that allowed Perkins, Westbrook and Durant to sit out the entire fourth quarter for the third straight game this week.

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