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OKC Thunder: Kendrick Perkins impacts series by slowing down Zach Randolph

by Anthony Slater Published: April 27, 2014

“I’ve preached since I’ve been here, Perk is the best post defender in the NBA,” Russell Westbrook said.

But Perkins’ offense has been just as important — not because he’s been a heavy producer (17 points in four games) but because he hasn’t been a burden. Typically a liability on that end, Perkins has made six of his nine shots in the series, punishing the Grizzlies at key times when they’ve left him to overhelp on others.

And because of that relative effectiveness, it’s allowed him to stay on the floor for 25.5 minutes per game, six more than his season average, able to contribute his punishing screen-setting and unmatched post defense.

“I’m just confident,” Perkins said.

Before Game 3, there was an interesting exchange caught by TNT’s mic’d-up cameras, with Perkins and Randolph chatting pregame with referee Monty McCutchen.

Perkins called the ref and Randolph over, telling McCutchen: “Me and him been banging (in the post) a lot, sometimes we ain't in play and sometimes we're locking up each other.” Perkins was essentially asking McCutchen to allow the maximum amount of contact and holding before calling a foul. Randolph, for some reason, agreed.

And he’s been struggling ever since, unable to shake Perkins physical defense.

Just the kind of series Kendrick Perkins was put on this Earth to play in. And just the kind of refereeing he likes.