Rivers reflects on value of Perkins
Following the Clippers’ Game 3 loss, Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers returned to his office to stew in frustration and start preparing for a turnaround.
But awaiting him was a familiar face from the past and, also, a reminder of his current unenviable predicament.
“I walk in my office and (Kendrick Perkins’) wife and all the kids are in my office,” Rivers recalled. “We were sitting there talking, and it was nice...But he had a lot to do with (the Clippers loss the night before).”
Even four years later, Rivers still holds a ton of affection for Perkins from the six-plus years he coached him in Boston.
“I just love him,” Rivers said. “He’s a hard-working guy. His value to the team, you just can’t quantify in numbers. He does so many things on the floor, off the floor, just every team he’s on, it gives them a perception of toughness.”
Rivers then lamented the effect it had on his Celtics when they surprisingly traded him to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green at the 2011 trade deadline.
“I was amazed at the difference when we lost him,” Rivers said. “I don’t mean the next year, I mean the next week, because he was gone. All of a sudden it felt like we were under attack, no one was scared of us anymore. I thought a lot of that had to do with, we removed that guy from our locker room.”
Rivers went on to say he’d never seen a pregame locker room as distraught as when Perkins was traded.
“I don’t usually say this to my coaches,” Rivers remembered. “But before the game, I said if we can get within 30 tonight, I’d be happy.”
Boston lost to the Nuggets by 12 that night.
KD ON SI COVER
For the second time in the past two seasons, Kevin Durant is the cover boy on this week’s Sports Illustrated.
The magazine has a feature on the newly minted MVP, taking a look at his next quest: an NBA title.
From the cover: “For now there remains a distinction between (Michael) Jordan and KD. Six distinctions, to be precise. And therein lies the hole in the young star’s career, one no manner of scoring titles or individual awards can fill.”
BROOKS BEEN THERE BEFORE
While rare, the Thunder’s Game 4 collapse was not the worst in NBA playoff history.
There have been others, including the Houston Rockets losing a 20-point lead in the final 10 minutes and falling to the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.
Houston’s point guard in that game? Scott Brooks.
“I definitely remember it pretty clearly,” Brooks said.
Houston shook off that collapse and went on to win the title. But Brooks said he didn’t share that success story with his team going into Game 5.
SEFOLOSHA TO JOIN BWB
As part of his offseason, Thabo Sefolosha continues to get involved in humanitarian efforts.
The Thunder forward will again join with Basketball Without Borders this August and take part in a camp in Johannesburg, Africa. Sefolosha will be joined by Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko and NBA coaches Brian Shaw, Jeff Hornacek and Dwane Casey.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will participate in the Orlando Pro Summer League from July 5-11.
In addition to the Thunder, the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers will participate. The event will remain closed to the public because of space limitations.
In a departure from past years, the annual Orlando Pro Summer League will last seven days, and no team will play for more than three days in a row before it receives a rest day.
Game 6 comes on Thursday night in Los Angeles. Tip is at 9:30 Oklahoma time on ESPN.