Perkins Debuts in Thunder Victory

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:16 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 14, 2011 8:44 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – He wasn’t in the game for long, but Kendrick Perkins made a statement in his first game with the Thunder.

Perkins played just 20 minutes but grabbed nine rebounds and scored six points in his Thunder debut as OKC won 116-89 against the Wizards.

Perkins started at center and played a limited role due to conditioning and health cautions after he missed nine games with a sprained right knee.

But even in limited minutes, his impact was noticeable. Perkins provided defensive toughness and did what he was supposed to do on offense: grab a couple of rebounds and put them back in around the goal.

Ironically, Perkins’ biggest stat of the night might not have even been his own stat.

Serge Ibaka, who started in the frontcourt along with Perkins, racked up a career high-tying eight blocks. But many of those came as a result of help-side defense on Perkins’ man.

Perkins’ defense allowed Ibaka to roam the paint a little bit more on defense and garnered offensive players’ full attention, allowing Ibaka to come from elsewhere on the court to time his blocks better.

The Thunder didn’t waste any time taking care of an inferior opponent, jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead. They led by as many as 13 in the first quarter.

OKC racked up 68 points in the first half, tying a season high, and led by as many as 31 several times.

The blowout victory allowed plenty of Thunder players to rack up some impressive stats.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 32. Daequan Cook added 18 (all on 3-pointers) and James Harden added 16, his 14th-straight game in double figures.

Russell Westbrook had another double-double with 18 points and 12 assists.

OKC shot an incredible 57 percent from 3-point range and 95 percent from the free-throw line.

Oklahoma City has a four-game winning streak and will carry that into Miami for a 7 p.m. tip on Wednesday on ESPN.