Oklahoma City Thunder: Time for fans to sulk, not despair

COMMENTARY — The Thunder's five-game series loss to Memphis exposed some warts, but nothing that the healthy return of Russell Westbrook won't cover.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: May 16, 2013 at 12:37 am •  Published: May 16, 2013

But he pushed a lot of different buttons after Westbrook's injury. He tried to find answers, tinkering with lineups and fiddling with assignments.

That included playing less and less Kendrick Perkins.

Some Thunder fans are bound to say that Brooks waited too long to make that adjustment. The Amnesty Perk Movement is surely gathering steam after this series.

This was supposed to be a matchup made for the Big Scowl. Hand-to-hand combat. Bear wrestling. All of it fits in his wheelhouse.

But Wednesday night, even with Nick Collison in foul trouble, Perk played a series-low 16 minutes. He had more turnovers (three) than points (two). That was the case in two of the five games in this series, and the other three games weren't much better.

But Thunder fans, you can stop with the amnesty talk. The Thunder isn't going to do that.

Ain't gonna happen.

If the Thunder amnesties Perk, it would still have to pay his salary but would get nothing in return. That's not a trade off this franchise is willing to make.

Could it trade Perk?

Perhaps.

Though that might not be advisable. The 11 minutes that Perk was on the court in the first half Wednesday night, the Grizzlies scored only two second-chance points. The other 13 minutes? They scored seven second-chance points.

Go figure.

No doubt that Wednesday night was a tough end to a tough couple weeks for this team, but it's no reason to think this bunch is broken. Yes, they broke down in the end, but they don't need an offseason overhaul.

If anything, this stretch might be a defining time for this franchise. It might build resolve and toughness that makes this team better in the end.

“Down the line, we're going to look back at this and really appreciate it,” Durant said of this rough patch. “Sometimes you've gotta ride out the storms to get to the sunshine.”

Don't despair, Thunder fans. Westbrook will come back, and so will your team.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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