But it did prove that Brooks will pull out all the stops to beat Miami. Sitting Perkins for 43½ minutes is the epitome of desperate measures. At least in Thunderland.
Benching Perkins for such a stretch is not easy. The most difficult part of NBA coaching is not the strategy. Or the motivating.
The most difficult part of NBA coaching is dealing with the personalities. Keeping 10, 12, 15 guys rowing in the same direction.
Even a good ship lollipop like the Thunder is not easy. Some of these guys have razor-wire edges. Keeping the volatile Westbrook in line is a full-time job. Telling Perkins he's not needed against the NBA's two-time champion is delicate stuff.
But it's true.
Perk hasn't always stunk against Miami. In March 2012, 11 weeks before the NBA Finals, Perkins had 16 points and six rebounds in a 103-87 Thunder rout of the Heat. And Miami played a small lineup much of that game.
In the 2012 Finals, twice Perk was on the plus side — the Thunder outscored Miami with Perkins on the court in both Game 3 and Game 4.
But increasingly, the Heat blisters offensively challenged centers. A skilled big man puts Miami at its most vulnerable. Conversely, a defensive plugger in the middle doesn't bother the Heat, because there's nothing to plug.
The idea that Gran Torino is valuable in a small number of games is silly. His worth shows at least 60 times a year. The Thunder will be hard-pressed to find a Western Conference playoff opponent that doesn't require elite post defense.
Let's see. San Antonio. Portland. The Clippers. Houston. Memphis. Minnesota. The Thunder has to have Perkins against all of them.
Maybe not against Golden State, Dallas or Phoenix. None of which seemed destined for survive past the first round anyway.
The Thunder needs Perkins or someone like him to win the NBA championship.
Just not against Miami. Scotty Brooks knows what he has to do.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.