Kendrick Perkins wonders if Reggie Miller wants to step up (Getty Images)
Apparently Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was so incensed by the TNT broadcast trio of Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller's criticism of his Game 2 defense that he shouted incessantly at the triptych during Thursday night's Game 3 Thunder win. In what became a recurring theme throughout the first two quarters of the broadcast, Perkins could be seen glaring at the announcing crew (the video can be seen after the jump) in the first half of the contest, as a response for their pointing out that Perkins' Game 2 defense wasn't up to snuff because he didn't match up well with a quicker San Antonio team. An observation that Perkins, after Game 3 … agreed with? What?
Apparently, the Thunder big fella had heard about the less-than-complimentary things the network announcers had said about his pick-and-roll defense in these Western Conference Finals. And apparently, he didn't like it. After at least two first-half defensive stops aided by his play, Perkins stared down the broadcast crew.
"Talk about that," he yelled.
They did, as the game went on.
And, regarding his step-slow defense from Tuesday night? They did, during and after Game 2. We all did.
Perkins did not match up well in that loss, as the Spurs continually spread the floor and forced the big man out of his comfort zone as a low post defend nonpareil. It's not incorrect to point out that Perkins did not adapt to San Antonio's spread offense, or Tony Parker's ability to worm free in the screen and roll attack before pulling up in Perkins' face incessantly for mid-range jumpers on his way toward 34 Game 2 points and a win.
In Game 3, the Thunder switched on everything, rather than forcing Perkins to hedge while his screened-out teammates recovered. And Kendrick was brilliant, affecting shots and even blocking a Manu Ginobili 3-pointer. It was perimeter defense we rarely see from any big man, much less Perkins. And he should be commended for that as much as we're allowed to point out that the guy was left a little helpless in Game 2 playing out of his element.
And though Perkins decided to glare and shout at the TNT crew, he apparently agrees with their Game 2 assessment. Oh, athletes.
"In that last game Parker was able to get in there and get off his shots pretty easy," Perkins said. [...]
"Me personally, I said I was gonna do a better job on the pick and roll," Perkins said. "I knew I had to come up. He was hitting. He was too comfortable. So I knew I had to come up on the screens.
"I watched Game 2 and seen what I needed to do a better job of. We all did a better job. I thought our guards got into the ball today and got over the screen, which helped a lot. We had active hands and we just played nice team defense."
How is this in any way different from what the TNT crew, and anyone else, was saying about Perkins in Game 2?
It's OK, though.
Just more in-game stuff from a guy in the moment, playing in front of thousands, who is having a blast at being great at his job after a few rough nights out (following nearly a week-long layoff). We've all shouted silly things in the midst of a game before, and all let the emotion of the moment get the best of us — in a contest that means absolutely nothing in a game in front of absolutely no people.
For Perkins to focus his ire on the TNT crew as he celebrates? That's how it goes when you have 18,000-strong cheering you on.
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