Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
Kendrick Perkins Helps Oklahoma City Thunder Down His Former Team – a Fan’s Take
The story throughout the Oklahoma City Thunder game with the Boston Celtics on Jan. 16 revolved around Kendrick Perkins and his trip back to play his former teammates. When the game ended, the Boston fans cheered for Perkins as he left the court, despite Oklahoma City winning, 97-88.
The Thunder are now 12-2 on the season and that might not be possible if not for Perkins being in the lineup. Against Boston, he finished with seven points and five rebounds but his worth is not in the stats. Much like Thabo Sefolosha on the perimeter, Perkins' worth is what he provides in the paint as a dominating body.
While Jermaine O'Neal finished with a double-double, with 12 points and 11 rebounds, Perkins was there to shut things down when the Thunder needed it the most. Boston (4-8) is struggling this year, and the talk is they are too old, but a lineup that includes Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo should not be manhandled like they were against the Thunder.
Sure, the Celtics brought the game within one but the Thunder went into the half with the lead and I never felt they were threatened. The Thunder, a team that used to win offensively, won defensively on this night, keeping the former champions on their heels the entire evening.
I also assume it had to be mixed emotions for Perkins. He came to Boston as an 18-year old rookie, straight out of high school, and played for the Celtics for eight years. He won an NBA Championship with them and then went back to the Finals again the next year, only to fall to the Los Angeles Lakers. Perkins knows what it is like to be a champion and that is all thanks to the Boston Celtics.
Perkins called Garnett his mentor. He called Allen and Pierce his close friends. He considers head coach Doc Rivers to be like a father. He said he talks to Rondo every day. I can only imagine how hard it must be to see his former teammates, and friends, falling as hard as they are. He has to feel like it is partially because he is no longer there. But, at the end of the day, Boston traded him.
Against the Thunder, Perkins continued to deliver blows to the Celtics, this time on the court. The Thunder won the game and have the best record in the NBA. The Celtics are now a middle of the road team with twice as many losses as wins. It's becoming clear how valuable Perkins really is.
Author Shawn S. Lealos has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma (2000) and is an avid sports fan that has lived in Oklahoma for over 40 years. He used to religiously follow the Dallas Mavericks until Oklahoma City found a team to call their own.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.