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OKC Thunder's Kendrick Perkins says tussle with Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki 'just playoff basketball'

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: May 1, 2012

It was 12:40 a.m. Tuesday when Thunder center Kendrick Perkins finally returned to his locker room stall and spoke to what transpired roughly 3½ hours earlier during his team's 102-99 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night in Chesapeake Energy Arena.

With 5:04 left in the first quarter, there was an altercation between Perkins and Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki following a 3-point basket by Kevin Durant.

Nowitzki and Perkins exchanged expletives while being separated by teammates.

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle stormed onto the court, pointing and shouting at Perkins and the officiating crew. At one point, Carlisle approached Perkins, who swatted his hand away.

Perkins was assessed a loose-ball foul. Perkins and Nowitzki were given double-technicals for shoving each other.

"Well, it happens. Playoffs, you get tangled up," Perkins explained. "Nothing personal, just playoff basketball, so it happens."

Nowitzki's take essentially was the same.

"Just two teams playing hard," Nowitzki said. "They really came at us early and we had to respond physically. He tried to bully me and I bullied him back a little. I don't think the play was anything special."

During his post-game interview session, Carlisle said: "We don't like the cheap shots when they give 'em, and they don't like 'em if we give 'em. That's the nature of the competition. … The dirty (expletive) has got to stop."

Perkins' response to Carlisle's assessment?

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