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Thunder notebook: Kendrick Perkins says 'I'm struggling'

Oklahoma City's big man admits that he hasn't played up to expectations. In 23 games going into Monday's date at Portland, Perkins had pulled down fewer than five rebounds eight times.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 6, 2012
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Kendrick Perkins has looked himself in the proverbial mirror.

Mired in one of the worst statistical seasons of his career through the first third of this year, Perkins admitted Monday that he hasn't played up to expectations.

“I'm struggling,” Perkins said.

Perkins ranks third on the Thunder in rebounding. But at 5.4 per game, he's pulling down his least amount of boards since he averaged 5.2 during the 2006-07 season. Perkins' 11.6 percent rebound rate (the percentage of total missed shots a player rebounds) is the worst of his career. Only four centers who have logged enough games and minutes to qualify have a lower rebound rate.

In 23 games going into Monday's at Portland, Perkins had pulled down fewer than five rebounds eight times.

“I just got to play better,” Perkins said. “It's not just the rebounding. My points are down. I'm usually one of the league leaders in field-goal percentage. I just got to play better. It's nothing else to it. I just got to play better.”

Perkins is shooting a career-low 45.3 percent from the field. Last year, despite not being close to 100 percent as he recovered from knee injuries, Perkins shot 49.3 percent in 17 games with the Thunder. He shot 54.2 percent in 12 games with Boston. At 4.6 points per game, Perkins is averaging his least amount of points since he average 4.5 in 2006-07.

“I don't know whether it's my focus or what. But it's on me,” Perkins said. “I really don't care about the points. But I do worry about picking up my field-goal percentage and my rebounding. I at least need to be at eight a game. So that's unacceptable.”

Perkins said he gets frustrated just like fans when he looks at the final stat sheet and sees he's pulled down just one or three rebounds, which happened in the team's previous two games against Memphis and San Antonio. Perkins, however, said he's unsure of how to regain his productivity of yesteryear. For now, Perkins said he's just trying to find ways to continue impacting games while he's struggling.

“The thing is, I never have been in a slump,” Perkins said. “This is my first time being in a slump. I just got to find my way. I figure the only thing I can do is go up from here, though.”

COOK IMPRESSING DEFENSIVELY

Guard Daequan Cook has stood out since being inserted into the starting lineup.

But, surprisingly, he's done it by excelling on the defensive end, not offensively.

Before Monday's game at Portland, Cook was averaging 7.7 points, five rebounds and 1.66 blocks in three games while filling in for customary starter Thabo Sefolosha, who is sidelined with a foot injury.

Cook's defensive play of late has appeared to be much better than it was when he arrived in Oklahoma City at the start of last season.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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