Kendrick Perkins is considered one of the best post defenders in the NBA, but his two most impressive stops Monday night came against a shooting guard.
The Thunder held the world champion Dallas Mavericks scoreless in the final 2:46 and finished with an 8-0 run to post a 95-91 victory before another sellout crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Dallas came up empty on its final five possessions. On two occasions, Perkins switched off defensively to guard Mavs guard Jason Terry, one of the most lethal sixth men in the league.
Perkins forced a shot-clock violation when Terry took an ugly fade-away prayer from the left wing that wound up being an airball. The other was a miss along the right baseline from12 feet that barely drew iron.
“Perk did a great job of making him (Terry) miss both shots and if he would have made them, it just would have been a lucky shot,” OKC coach Scott Brooks said. “Perk is a competitor … his activity was really good tonight.”
Perkins rarely fills up a stat sheet, but Monday's line was more robust than usual with seven points, 3-for-5 shooting from the field and a season-high 14 rebounds, with five at the offensive end.
In the first quarter alone, Perkins had five points and eight rebounds. His final rebound came with 2:51 left in the third quarter. Perkins re-entered with 4:24 left in the game and the score tied at 85.
“Perk competes, guys,” Brooks told reporters afterward. “It's great to see him have some rebounds and the stats sheet looks really impressive, but trust me, when I say this I really mean it, he does so much for us.”