You know you’re in trouble when Kendrick Perkins starts to give you the stink eye. Perk boasts what has to be the most frightening mean-mugs in all of sports and right now he’s aiming his scoff in the direction of the Los Angeles Lakers and the attention LA is getting after making a pair off off-season blockbusters that netted them two stars destined for the basketball hall of fame.
Perk doesn’t like the way his Oklahoma City Thunder have sort of been pushed aside as the media has anointed Kobe Bryant and the Lakers as the best team in the west, if not the NBA.
“We are the Western Conference champs,” Perkins told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. “So at the end of the day, we’re not chasing nobody except for the ring. We’re chasing Miami to get a championship. It’s no guarantee who is going to be where. But we earned the Western champs so we’re not chasing the Lakers, we’re chasing a championship and that’s what it’s about.”
Perkins has said that the Lakers addition of Dwight Howard has given him the fuel to train harder in the off-season. There was a time when Perkins was a Celtic and Dwight Howard had anointed him as the best defending big man in the league. Perkins was also supposed to be a big difference-maker when coming to OKC, but has failed miserably while trying to live up to the hype surrounding the deal that sent Jeff Green to Boston. Not that Green in Bean Town has been anything special for the Celtics either.
“I just said it’s time to go to work,” Perkins said. “I knew the hype was going to be over there on that end and all that. But I’m glad the attention is off us because we’re the type that likes to put our hard hats on and do stuff and keep it under the radar. And at the end of the day, when you look at the box score, Oklahoma won. That’s the way we like to keep it.
Perkins may have a point in all of this. The Oklahoma City Thunder are still the team to beat out west and they proved that by making their first appearance in the NBA Finals last season. The only team they should be focused on improving over is the Miami Heat, but the thought of Dwight, Kobe, Nash and Pau knocking at their door has to be an issue for Perkins and OKC.
As if preparing for the reigning champion Miami Heat wasn’t tough enough already, now they’ll have a dog-fight in their own conference just to get a crack at LeBron James and the Heat next season.
“Now, we know what to expect,” Perkins said. “So it’s less talking and more playing on my end. We know what to expect and we know what it takes. We know that it takes the little things and we’ll be ready.”