The Oklahoma City Thunder had to beat the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of their series. The No. 1 reason why Oklahoma City couldn't continue to play Dallas for the next few days is because big center, Kendrick Perkins, went down with an injury early in the game.
The Thunder desperately need Kendrick Perkins in the paint if they want to overcome a team like the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round and they need him rested and healed in order to do so. An MRI confirmed the fact that Perkins has a right hip strain and there is no word yet on how long he will have to rest it.
Luckily, the Thunder won't start the second round series until April 12, at the earliest, so the big man has almost a full week to rest and recover his injury. If Dallas had won, Perkins would still have sat out. That would have made beating the Mavericks that much more difficult.
Backing up Perkins is Nazr Mohammed and Cole Aldrich, two very good players, but nowhere near the dominating presence than Perkins is in the paint. So far this postseason, Perkins is averaging 6.3 rebounds and .75 blocks a game, while averaging 22.3 minutes.
The rest is a luxury but it is imperative that Perkins be healthy to return for the next series. The Lakers are the most likely opponent for the Thunder and there is no way I want to see Mohammed or Aldrich have to defend Andrew Bynum when that time comes.
Bynum us unreal right now, averaging 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds a game in the Lakers' series with the Denver Nuggets.
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.