Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who aggravated a right hip muscle strain early in the third quarter of Game 1 on Monday night, once again will be a game-time decision as to whether he will start against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Perkins initially was injured in Game 4 in a series-clinching victory at Dallas on May 5.
Perkins rested for eight days awaiting this second-round series and reinjured the hip at the 10:18 mark of the third quarter in Monday's 119-90 romp over the Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Perkins did not participate in Tuesday's practice because of soreness. Perkins received treatment in the afternoon and will again on Wednesday. He will be re-evaluated before the game. A final decision must come at least one hour before tipoff.
Roughly 75 minutes after Game 1, around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday inside the Thunder locker room, Perkins vowed he would play in Game 2 and estimated at that time he was approximately 75-percent healthy.
If Perkins is unable to play, Brooks said veteran center Nazr Mohammed would start.
(NOT) TAKING CHARGE
The Thunder finished with just four turnovers in Game 1, which set a franchise record for fewest in a playoff game dating back to the Seattle SuperSonics' arrival in 1967.
Truth be told, OKC shouldn't have many turnovers in the series because the Lakers are a pack-it-in team in their defensive approach. They don't try to jump into passing lanes or double-team opponents. Steals come when opponents try to force the ball inside or are careless while attacking. LA finished last in the league in opponent turnovers at just 11.3 per game during the regular season.
The Lakers' style of defense should make it easier for OKC to work the ball around the perimeter and not self-destruct, which was a problem at times this season.
Asked how his team might try to force more turnovers against the Thunder, legendary Lakers guard Kobe Bryant shrugged and said: “Foul them a couple more times (and hope) the refs won't call it.”
Asked about taking charges, Bryant quickly deferred.
“We have a couple guys who will take charges,” Bryant said, “but for the most part, the one guy who took charges (Derek Fisher) is now playing in Oklahoma. I don't take charges. Metta (World Peace) don't take charges. Steve (Blake) will take a charge every now and then, but most everybody else just stands out and plays (defense).”
Bryant explained why he won't take any charges.
“I learned from my predecessors, man,” Bryant said. “(Scottie) Pippen had a (messed)-up back taking charges. (Larry) Bird had a (messed)-up back taking charges. I said, 'I'm not taking charges.' I figured that (stuff) out at an early age.”
(NOT) GETTING BETTER
As usual, Fisher stuck around for roughly 45 minutes after practice on Tuesday to take some extra shots.
“He looks at himself as he's just starting in the league,” Brooks said of the 37-year-old Fisher. “He wants to keep getting better. I don't think he realizes he's not going to get much better. He is what he is, but he still comes out every day to improve. It's refreshing.”
Bryant broke out into laughter when asked if there was anything the Lakers could do to match the Thunder's energy.
“You can't,” Bryant said. “You just accept that. It's not a big deal. You can't. They have youthful exuberance. We don't worry about matching their energy. You just think about slowing them down and playing your style.”
Asked if he laughed because he remembers what it was like to be young and energetic, the 33-year-old Bryant said: “I don't even remember what it was like.”
Brooks resorted to a comic book series to describe the tough-as-nails Perkins.
“One of the things we know about Perk is he is as tough as they come,” Brooks said. “If they would ever do an 'Avengers II' (movie), he'll probably be one of the characters — Perk, or Captain America, or the Incredible Hulk and Perk. He's as tough as they come and he wants to play.”
BAIT AND LURE
Mohammed had seven points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in 22 minutes in Game 1.
Asked if he took pleasure in luring 7-foot Lakers center Andrew Bynum away from the basket with his 15-foot jumper, the 34-year-old Mohammed said: “That's my job. Over the years, I've worked on my jump shot and knocking them down because of how the league has changed and having to be able to hit that shot. Because you can't just depend on getting the ball in the post.”
Is there a smile on Mohammed's face when he lures out Bynum? “There's no smile,” Mohammed said. “Because if I miss it ... .”
Bryant on Game 1: “They came out, took us out back and whooped us. It's on us to make adjustments, to make changes.”