If you want to know why the Oklahoma City Thunder is on the verge of sweeping the Mavs, look no further than the play of the big men. Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison are doing a number defensively on Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki.
Now, how are they doing it?
No one better to answer that than Perk.
How were you all able to hold Dirk to 6-of-15 shooting and 17 points in Game 3?
I thought our focus on the defensive end was great. We got stops, and that translated to our offensive end. When we missed shots, I didn't think we hung our heads. We just kept pushing. You know, when Russ and KD and James, our three best offensive players, come out and they're locked in defensively, it just takes our game to another level. Really, they set the tone. You expect what Serge is going to bring to the table defensively and what I bring to the table defensively. But when those three guys come out with a defensive mindset, it's just a whole other game.
So, you see that defensive intensity from the perimeter guys and it kicks you up a notch?
Absolutely. When you see them pressuring the ball and stuff like that, absolutely it does. Sometimes, I catch myself following their lead defensively, and it just carries.
What do you have to do different defensively against a guy like Dirk? Do you have to reach into a different bag of tricks against him?
You just can't leave him, I know that. You've got to know where he is at all times on the court. And he's different because he's 7-foot, he can shoot the lights out, but not only that, he makes tough plays. So the best thing to do is deny him the ball as much as you can. You really don't want him to touch it.
A big, tall 7-footer — is it possible to lose him?
When he's playing behind the three, sometimes it is. (Laughs.)