Thunder: Perkins finds the value in James Harden
Everyone says Kendrick Perkins has a defensive mentality. Perkins himself would admit to such a claim. And he’s not kidding around.
That’s what I love about Perkins. He doesn’t deviate from his belief. When Sam Presti or Scotty Brooks talk about Perkins’ commitment to defense, here’s what they mean. Defense is the prism through which Perkins see the game.
Monday at Thunder headquarters, Perkins was asked about Eric Maynor, who played a superb floor game Sunday in the 107-103 victory over Denver, including 12 points.
Perkins acknowledged that Maynor hit some big shots, then almost immediately changed the subject. Perkins said he thought James Harden was a big key.
Harden? Who played 25 minutes, 48 seconds, and scored all of five points, on 1-of-5 shooting. Harden is the Thunder’s third-leading scorer and the guy who has to supplement the scoring explosion of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Yes. That James Harden.
“He did a great job on playing J.R. Smith,” Perkins said of Harden. “J.R. Smith is the X-factor for them.”
Smith has been Denver’s leading scorer since its February trade of Carmelo Anthony. But Sunday night, with Harden guarding him a good portion of the time, Smith had just nine points on 3-of-8 shooting, and two of his baskets came in the fourth quarter, on fast-breaks. The other basket came with Daequan Cook guarding Smith, who zipped right past Cook for an easy layup.
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