Thunder center Kendrick Perkins has never cared much about his scoring stats, but always has paid close attention to the other side of the game.
In back-to-back outings on Sunday in Portland and Monday in Phoenix, Perkins had season-high rebounding totals with 12 against the Trail Blazers and 13 in a 102-90 victory Monday over the Suns at the US Airways Center.
Perkins insisted he wasn't trying to make up for the loss of power forward Serge Ibaka, who missed both games with a chest contusion.
“I wasn't even thinking about that,” Perkins said. “I'm just trying to go out there and play. (These last two games) feel very rewarding. I just feel it's something I can bring to the table, even when we don't have it going offensively. You have lapses where things aren't going well, but you just keep going. You find as many ways as you can affect the game without scoring the ball.”
Thunder coach Scott Brooks has always had a fondness for guys who come off the bench, which is what he did throughout his 10-year NBA career.
Brooks was still bragging about guard DeAndre Liggins' performance at Portland, where he had 11 points, nine rebounds and led the Thunder with 40 minutes played.
“I love guys that come in and play, especially when you're not expected to play and not expected to play (40) minutes, and he played well,” Brooks said. “Without his minutes, we don't win that game in Portland.”
Needless to say, Brooks is extremely pleased with how his team played short-handed the past two games.
“It's tough to win a game when you have your entire team together or with one starter out,” Brooks said.
“Very rarely do you have two starters out. The way we played that game in the environment there was in Portland and the way they had been playing at home. It was inspiring basketball. Our defensive execution was right on, just about every possession.
“There's no question I had no clue what was going to transpire … but I knew our guys always play hard.”
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. apparently is a Thunder fan. He was at last Friday night's game at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers, and was in attendance Monday for OKC's game at Phoenix.
Also on hand was Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time scorer with 38,387 points.
Kevin Durant was named Western Conference player of the week after averaging a league-best 32.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists. … This was the Thunder's eighth back-to-back of the season and it has 15 total. OKC is 6-2 on the first night and 6-2 on the second. … The Thunder outscored Phoenix 48-34 in the paint and 14-6 on fast-break points, but the Suns outscored OKC 22-16 in second-chance points thanks to 14 offensive rebounds and a 48-42 advantage on the boards.
LAMB, ORTON HONORED
Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb was selected to the All-NBA Development League Showcase First Team as members of the Tulsa 66ers at the four-day, 16-game Showcase last week in Reno, Nev.
Center Daniel Orton was a Third Team selection.
Perkins on Durant and Russell Westbrook scoring 47 of the team's 51 second-half points at Phoenix on Monday night: “That's why they get paid the big bucks … I'm being for real.”
BY JOHN ROHDE