Berry Tramel: Kendrick Perkins should take Thunder defense to next level

by Berry Tramel Published: February 27, 2011

Instead, the Lakers scored nine fast-break points, some off the Thunder's 19 turnovers, and 10 points on direct putbacks from Bynum or Gasol.

The Thunder rebounded well. But when the Lakers got an offensive rebound, the ball usually went straight back into the hoop. Perkins will help stop that.

The Thunder's second-half offense stunk: 31 points, 30 percent shooting, 10 turnovers.

And in the final 3:45, the Thunder's seven possessions were awful:

* Russell Westbrook threw away the ball trailing 87-84.

* Durant shot an air ball on an 18-footer, trailing 88-84.

* Westbrook sank a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock neared zero, making it 88-87.

* Harden missed a layup on a rugged drive trailing 88-87.

* Artest stripped the ball from Durant, with the Lakers up 90-87.

* Gasol drew a charging foul on Westbrook with 17 seconds left.

* Durant and Harden missed desperation 3-pointers in the final five seconds in what actually was OKC's best possession down the stretch.

Get used to such basketball. That's how you win in the playoffs.

The Lakers won the NBA Finals last June by averaging 91 points in seven games against the Celtics. Boston averaged 87.

That's the kind of defense the Thunder must play to win in the playoffs. But good news. Even without Kendrick Perkins, that's close to the kind of defense they played against the Lakers.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

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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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