And San Antonio?
“The Spurs, they weren’t more athletic than us, they weren’t more talented than us,” Perkins said. “But they outsmarted us, and they won the series off of that.”
Agenda-free basketball is what Perkins has termed it. Putting aside personal goals for the better of the team, with an understanding that the individual shine will come after the wins.
“You do all the right things to try to get the bigger goals,” Perkins said. “Then making the All-Star Game and doing everything else going to fall into place.”
Perkins called for Russell Westbrook to play more consistent defense, to stop gambling as much, for Kevin Durant to get stronger and build a sturdier base, like some of the all-time greats did over time.
But most of all, he called for a team-wide championship mentality from Day 1 of training camp.
“That’s learning how to play the right way for 82 games and not try to turn on the switch in the playoffs,” Perkins said. “I think what you do in January is based on how you play in April, May and June. You gotta develop that trust early. The two teams in the Finals right now, they play the same way all year long. They make the right basketball play every time down.”
The Thunder, in his estimation, don’t. At least not at this point.