“It felt good just to be out there playing and getting my rhythm back,” Perkins said. “I'm not too much worried about offense. I know it's going to come. I'm just trying to run up and down, set picks and get back into the flow of things and go from there.”
Led by Perkins on the defensive end, the Thunder held Dallas to 38 percent shooting and fewer than 25 points in three quarters. Oklahoma City led by as many as 23 and walked out of Dallas proudest about displaying the consistent defensive effort Thunder coach Scott Brooks has preached since the start of camp. The Thunder held the Mavs to 40 percent shooting in the first half and 35.9 percent in the second.
“That's one thing we're going to focus on this year is being a better first half defensive team. And I think we did a great job of that,” Perkins said.
There were breakdowns at times in the Thunder's defense, but clearly the effort was there as players communicated throughout the night and rotated to help each other when needed. Nick Collison also was a difference maker, picking up where he left off last season by drawing three charges.
The biggest cause for concern was a heap of turnovers. Oklahoma City had eight in the first 11 1/2 minutes and finished with 25 leading to 33 Mavs points. It was a direct result of Thunder players forcing passes and perhaps over-passing as they sought to share the ball more per Brooks' mandate.
“That's something that we have to work on and we will correct,” Brooks said. “But like I told the guys, our effort was good and our thoughts were in the right place…Overall, I'm happy and pleased with what we did tonight.”