Here we go again.
After a physical and, at times, hostile battle Wednesday between the Thunder and Heat, emotions spilled over into Thursday and Miami players still had not gotten over a couple of hard fouls Oklahoma City players delivered to its two biggest stars.
Heat forward Udonis Haslem upped the ante, however, when he appeared on a Miami radio show Thursday morning and called out Kendrick Perkins, whose second-quarter foul on Dwyane Wade sent the All-Star to the floor and resulted in Perk’s 12th technical foul this season.
I think sometimes people just use the TVs and the cameras and the crowd, you know, to put on a show,” Haslem said of Perkins. “I don’t think he’s all that he shows out there on the court. I think anybody can be a tough guy with a thousand people watching on TV and referees who call fouls and stop the game and different things like that. I don’t see him being any tough guy that he puts on the show to be, at all.”
If we were playing at the park, I don’t think he’d be doing all that.”
Haslem was one of several Heat players who took exception to Perkins’ foul on Wade, as well as Russell Westbrook grabbing LeBron James by the shoulder minutes later to prevent a breakaway dunk. Westbrook was called for a Flagrant 1 on the play. Immediately after Westbrook’s foul, Haslem could be seen jawing at Kevin Durant from the bench, and Heat reserve Juwan Howard entered into the verbal fray as well.
Haslem explained part of the jawing Thursday, and again brought it back to Perkins.
I voiced my opinion a little bit. Not entitled to say what I said last night, but I got a little bit off my chest. Where I’m from, all the talking and playing like that, if some point it comes to a situation where you’ve got to back it up, he’s never had to back it up, because obviously referees always step in.”
Wade also addressed the physicality following Wednesday’s game.
“We’re not fake tough guys, we’re not TV thugs. We go out and play basketball. When it’s time to get into the fight, we have a lot of guys who can get into it.”
The Thunder had an optional practice session Thursday in Indianapolis, and players weren’t available to the media.
But this marks the fifth time in the past three seasons that tempers have flared between the Thunder and Heat.
Two years ago, Westbrook got into a small skirmish with then-Heat center Jermaine O’Neal during an early-season game at Miami. Last year, Durant called Heat forward Chris Bosh a “fake tough guy” to the media after the two exchanged words during a game in Oklahoma City. In early February, James drew the ire of Perkins for tweeting about Blake Griffin’s highlight dunk against him. Perkins ripped James for constantly seeking attention and the world’s approval rather than playing to win a championship like other great players of yesterday and today. And on March 25 in Oklahoma City, Perkins swung his leg following a dunk and kicked Wade in the face (pictured above), prompting a lengthy stare down by Wade.