“He was just playing as hard as he could to help his team win. There was never a time I felt like he was out to injure. He was out to win. That's why I love playing with him.”
Among opposing fan bases, Perkins probably isn't too far removed from Metta World Chaos on the outrage scale.
But there's a huge difference in the two. Chaos blows a gasket and loses his cool, if not his faculties. Perkins is in control at all times.
“People think that sometimes he loses his mind,” said Thunder teammate Nick Collison, who for many years had occasional skirmishes with Perk, when he wore Celtic green.
“But he's really not. He went how many games when he needed that last T (technical foul, to be suspended)? He kind of always knows what he's doing.”
Metta World Chaos is madness. Perkins is method.
“There's a handful of guys in the league like that,” Collison said. “Physical guys, try to get under an opponent's skin. The smart ones are the guys like Perk who try to do it as an advantage.”
Does it work? Sometimes. Doesn't really work much on Nowitzki, who has more alley cat in him than he lets on. Works well on a shaky spirit like the Lakers' Andrew Bynum.
Now, don't get the wrong idea. Perkins is trying to make basketball plays, too. He's trying to set Kevin Durant free when sending Marion flying into the 15th row. But Gran Torino also is trying to send a message.
Not just to the enemy, but to his comrades, too.
“You always knew he was going to play hard and bring an intensity and a passion to the game every time he stepped on the court,” Fisher said. “That‘s why he's been a champion before.
“That's what he's doing for our team right now. He's playing hard. He's playing with passion. He's holding his teammates accountable. Those are all a testament to his character and his integrity of who he is as a person, outside of a basketball player.”
Fisher has experienced Perkins on both sides. Mortal enemies. Now mortal friends.
“We're fortunate to have him on our side,” Fisher said, perhaps thinking of Shawn Marion's aching body. “I'm happy to be a teammate instead of having to play against him.”
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at