Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendrick Perkins still gets fired up to play his old team the Boston Celtics

With his usual post defense unnecessary against a Celtic void of much post presence or pick-and-roll threat, Kendrick Perkins resorted to offense Sunday night in the Thunder's 119-96 rout of Boston. Perk had a season-high 12 points and six rebounds.
by Berry Tramel Published: January 5, 2014

Kevin Durant bounced a between-his-legs pass in the general direction of Kendrick Perkins, and Mr. Smooth did the rest.

Perkins snared the ball on the move, maybe 10 feet from the basket and lofted a running one-hander that swished through the net.

I know. Hard to believe. You can watch a thousand Thunder games and never see that again. But if you do, it's likely to come against the Celtics.

Gran Torino still gets fired up to play Boston.

“Oh yeah,” said Rajon Rondo, Perk's old point guard in Boston and the only player remaining from the Celtic roster when Perkins was traded to OKC three years ago. “I'm sure he wants to beat this team every chance he gets.”

With his usual post defense unnecessary against a Celtic void of much post presence or pick-and-roll threat, Perkins resorted to offense Sunday night in the Thunder's 119-96 rout of Boston. Perk had a season-high 12 points and six rebounds.

“I think it's common,” Scotty Brooks said of Perkins' heightened intensity for Boston. “You could tell. That's the team that drafted him. That's the team he won his championship with. The city obviously embraced him. They love that he competes every night, plays for the team. Kind of the reason we like him.”

Foreman Scotty paid homage to Perkins' Celtic heritage by running the opening play for Perk. A one-on-one in the post. Perkins missed a jump hook, but no matter. He made five of his next seven shots, plus a couple of foul shots. Only four times as a Boomer has Perkins scored more than 12.

Sometimes Brooks will run an opening play for Serge Ibaka or Thabo Sefolosha, trying to get them involved in the offense. You don't want Perkins involved in the offense, at least not with an eye on the basket. This was a tribute.

“I appreciate it,” Perkins said. “I thought he wanted to get me going. Scotty played in the league before, so he know how it is, playing against a former team.”

Of course, these Celtics aren't the Gran Torino Celtics. No Kevin Garnett. No Paul Pierce. No Ray Allen. No Doc Rivers.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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