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Checking in with Perk

John Rohde Published: May 18, 2012
We haven't heard much from Kendrick Perkins since the morning of May 5. Later that day, he suffered a right hip muscle strain in the first quarter of Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks. Since then, Perkins has received daily treatment to stay in the starting lineup and has uttered nary a word. Players are made available every practice day and game day during the postseason, but injured players are excused in order to receive treatment. Perkins was available after Game 1 and Game 2 against the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Trouble is, Perkins and veteran guard Derek Fisher often soak in a cold tub and chat about what just transpired on the court. They routinely don't return to their lockers and meet with reporters until roughly an hour after the game. With ridiculous 8:45 p.m. tipoffs, that means Perkins (and Fisher) don't start fielding questions until 12:15-12:30 a.m. Such was the case after Game 2 when Perkins chatted around 12:30 a.m. With Perkins likely to receive treatment every day until this season is over, media availability will continue to be limited, which is unfortunate because Perk is such a terrific, insightful interview. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he didn't know until roughly 5:30 p.m. Wednesday that Perkins would be able to play in Game 2 against the Lakers. Not only did Perkins perform admirably in the Thunder's 77-75 comeback victory, he played 31 minutes, 45 seconds with injury. "His toughness, what our players saw, inspired them also," Brooks said of Perkins. "They saw how he was at shootaround (Wednesday morning). We didn't know (if he would be able to play). That's what he does. When you see that from a teammate, you understand what the game is about." We would have loved to share Perkins' insight after Game 2, but he didn't finish talking until 30 minutes past our newspaper's deadline, and such will continue to be the case at least through Game 6, of the series goes that long. There's a chance Perkins could be made available at this morning's shoot-around at Santa Monica High School (10-10:45 a.m. PT). Below, compliments of Nick Gallo at thunder.com, is a transcription of what Perkins said after Game 2: On defending Andrew Bynum: "He’s a load down there. He is the biggest guy in the NBA and he’s skilled, so he can play. We just try to fight him, make all his catches tough, try not to let him catch it deep. His percentages are night and day when he catches it in the deep post in the paint and when he catches it off the block. So we just try to fight him, try to limit his touches. Overall we're just doing a great job of team defense. Our guards are sinking in, digging, helping and I feel like we’re doing a great job of trying to make other guys try to beat us." On closing the game on a 9-0 run: "Being at home helped also, I think. Our fans pull us through a lot of games. We just kept pushing. We got a bucket, we were down five, we just kept getting stops, came up with some big plays. Kevin (Durant) had a big steal. Russ (Westbrook) made a good play on the ball, which ended up going out on Kobe (Bryant). We just took it up another notch and did what we had to do. I felt like our defense all night was pretty good. We struggled a little bit offensively, but we kept getting stops the whole game. That was the good thing about it." On the tempo of the game: "You have to expect that coming after Game 1 that the Lakers, led byKobe, are going to come out hard and aggressive and come out and compete at a different level. I thought we did a pretty good job of fighting through whatever we were going through. Whether it was us making fouls or missing shots, we just kept battling, kept sticking together. We never let the game get out of reach. We always kept it a one-point, two-point game the whole game. Except for the last two minutes when it went up to seven, but we just grinded it out." On his status: "I'm just taking it one day at a time. Every day is different so I'm just going to do my job and continue to take care of my body and ice and do what I need to do. Luckily we have a great training staff here, so I'll just keep listening to them and will just take it one day and a time and take it from there." On how he feels right now: "I'm all right. (The win) definitely helped. If I lose, I'd probably walk out of here limping. But I'll walk out of here with a little pep in my step tonight. I'm cool, though. We're just going to keep grinding." On his toughness being praised by Brooks and Thabo Sefolosha: "One thing I know is that a lot of the guys on the team kind of look up to me as a big brother. I try to set an example. I may not be the leading scorer on the team, but I try to play in the right mindset and with the right toughness on the court every game and just encourage guys never to hang their heads when things are going bad for us. We could have shut it down with two minutes to go and thought the game was over, but we just kept competing. They never know, sometimes I always look up to them, too. Things don't always go well for me so I try to look at them to get some inspiration." On what he said to Westbrook after Steve Blake missed the 3-pointer: "I just told Russ he did his job on sagging in because I felt like which one would we rather have? Blake taking the 3 or Kobe taking the 3? I'd rather Blake take the last shot of the game and Russ did a good job of just trusting himself and getting a late contest. Even though he had a good look, I'd rather (have) that than Kobe (shoot it)."  

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