After his best game of the season Friday against Utah, Kendrick Perkins took exception to a reporter's question about criticism he's received this season.
Following an inspired effort against Jazz center Al Jefferson, Perkins was asked about his critics who have questioned his play this year.
“They didn't have to go through two off-season surgeries, either,” Perkins said. “I mean, they're going to say what they want to say. But at the end of the day I know what I'm doing. So whatever. Just check my winning percentage since I been here.”
Perkins scored 12 points with six rebounds, five assists, three blocks and one steal in the Thunder's 106-94 win against the Jazz. It was the first time in Perkins' career that he's compiled a stat line reaching those marks in each of those categories. He said the performance could be a confidence-builder as he continues to work his way back to where he wants to be.
“Yeah,” he said. “It's just a month back really playing basketball. Coach said it's going to take about five to six weeks for me to really get my rhythm back.
“I'm just trying to do my job, man. It's not a team where I'm going to be coming out here getting 10-plus points a night. I know that. So I just try to find different ways to get involved in the game, whether it's picking up full court with (Russell Westbrook) to locking up the best post player that they got on their team. So I just try to come out and have an effect on the game.”
ONE UP, ONE DOWN?
The Thunder on Saturday recalled DeAndre Liggins from the Tulsa 66ers, bringing him back after three games in the NBA D-League.
While on assignment, Liggins averaged 11.7 points on 54.5 percent shooting, as well as eight rebounds, seven assists and 1.7 steals in 38.7 minutes. He recorded a triple-double in the 66ers opening night victory over Texas, posting 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
“We wanted to give him some games down there, some minutes down there, and I think he's done a great job,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I'm really excited about what he's able to do. He's able to fill the stat sheet up. He shot the ball well. He passed the ball. He rebounded. And we all know how tough he is on the defensive end…We want all of our guys to go down there and get better and I think he did that.”
Brooks said he doesn't know how long Liggins will be with the team before another possible D-League assignment. But he said rookie forward Perry Jones III likely will be next in line to be sent to Tulsa for a chance to play minutes.
“Soon,” Brooks said when asked when PJ3 might be assigned.
ONWARD AND UPWARD
After a record-setting 13-4 record in November, the Thunder is hoping to carry over that momentum to a much lighter 13-game December schedule.
Three keys for the month, Brooks said, include defending the 3-point line, improving the defensive rebounding and guarding the pick-and-roll better.
The Thunder finished in the top third of the league in 3-point defense for November, giving up just 33.9 percent from behind the arc.
But OKC ranked 25th in opponent offensive rebounds at 12.2 per game.
“Rebounding is always key for us,” Brooks said. “If we can rebound we can get out in transition and score.”
Prior to Saturday's game at New Orleans, the Thunder was thrashing recent opponents.
In its previous six victories, Oklahoma City won by an average of 16.7 points. That margin included two overtime victories, a seven-point win and a six-point win. But it also included a record-setting 45-point drubbing against Charlotte last Monday.
The Thunder entered the Hornets game leading the league in point differential at plus-9.2. New Orleans ranked second-to-last at minus-5.8.
By Darnell Mayberry