With the debut of center Kendrick Perkins on Monday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder finally unveiled its rotation at the power forward and center spots.
Perkins started alongside power forward Serge Ibaka. Nick Collison was the first big man off the bench, replacing Perkins with 5:07 remaining in the first quarter. Nazr Mohammed then replaced Ibaka two minutes later. Perkins didn't return until the 6:28 mark of the second quarter. Ibaka checked back in with 5:14 left in the first half.
“They'll all have a lot of opportunities to play together,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “They're interchangeable parts. I haven't figured out, until I see them play, who plays better with each other. But I have a feeling that they all complement each other fairly well.”
Brooks said center Cole Aldrich will now serve as an emergency player who will be available in the event of injury or foul trouble.
“Cole's actually done well when he's had his time,” Brooks said. “We're happy with his progress, but right now he's probably going to have to take the back seat.”
Russell Westbrook notched his 31st double-double of the season with an 18-point, 12-rebound effort in the Thunder's 116-89 win over the Wizards.
Westbrook turned the ball over five times but added four steals and four rebounds. His counterpart, Wizards guard John Wall, scored 15 points with seven rebounds and five assists and four steals against six turnovers.
“They are as quick as any two players in this league guarding each other,” Brooks said. “Neither one is an easy matchup for the other or the other team … Russell, I thought, was good. He took one or two bad shots early. But he settled down and let the game come to him.”
Thunder guard Daequan Cook scored 18 points in 19 minutes off the bench against the Wizards, making six of nine shots, all from 3-point range. Cook made six of his first seven 3-pointers, benefiting from the team's exceptional ball movement.
The Thunder tallied 30 assists, one shy of its season high, which was set on Dec. 29 against New Jersey.
“I thought we did a good job of moving the ball and making the extra pass,” said Brooks. “Kevin (Durant) and D.C. were shooting the ball well, but it was because we were making good passes … We had a few hot hands and it made the game easier for us.”
MAYNOR MAKING THE RIGHT DECISION
Monday was the first time in 12 games that backup point guard Eric Maynor had more than one turnover in one game. Maynor finished with nine assists against three turnovers in 21 minutes.
Over the past 12 games, Maynor has dished out 52 assists and has had only nine turnovers.
“I always try to take care of the basketball, just being at the position I play,” Maynor said. “And we try to take care of the basketball as a team. I think I've been doing a good job of that and trying to get guys shots. That's a big key for a point guard … I think when you try to do too much, that's when you turn the ball over.”
Sunday's 20-point win at Cleveland, coupled with Monday's 27-point win over the Wizards, marked the first time since Feb. 3, 1995 and Feb 5, 1995 that the Thunder franchise has won back-to-back road games by at least 20 points.
With seven blocks against the Cavs and another eight against the Wizards, Thunder forward Ibaka also became the franchise's first player to block 15 shots in two games since Alton Lister, who registered a combined 16 blocks on March 13, 1989 and March 14, 1989.