Kendrick Perkins Motivated in Game 3 By Criticism of His Defense

by June 01, 2012

Kendrick Perkins was one of the main defensive anchors last night, as the OKC Thunder shut down the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3. Perkins had an even bigger chip on his shoulder than usual, due to round-the-clock criticism he’d heard following losses in the series’ first two games. Per and the Oklahoman: “Kendrick Perkins turned and glared at TNT’s broadcast table. 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. […] Kendrick Perkins could hear the whispers on the street, the loud statements on TV from Charles Barkley. He could feel the heat from some of the critics who even suggested that Thunder coach Scott Brooks should take him out of the starting lineup. He was too slow and plodding to play in tandem on the front line with Serge Ibaka against the ball movement of the Spurs, too ineffective against Tony Parker’s drives on the pick and roll.’In that last game Parker was able to get in there and get off his shots pretty easy,’ Perkins said. ‘So tonight I said, ‘I want to see what you got.’ I wanted to challenge him. I wanted to make him really work for it.’ […] Parker’s drop in production was the result of the OKC guards Thabo Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook fighting over screens and also Perkins stepping out on the pick and roll to cut off any path to the basket. ‘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.'”