Plenty of story lines are in play when the Thunder face the Celtics, as they will Friday night in Boston, due to the 2010 deal between the two teams that saw Kendrick Perkins and Jeff Green trade places.
Both players were thought at the time to be untouchable members of each team’s core, with Perkins being the bruiser on a championship-contender, and Green being a piece that meshed perfectly with the rest of OKC’s young talent, who was on its journey to become one.
Green doesn’t seem that interested in facing his former team, preferring instead to focus on the opportunity he has in Boston. And Perkins? He just wants to have some fun with it.
One of Rondo’s closest friends is Thunder center and ex-teammate Kendrick Perkins, who has defended the other team’s point guard on occasion this season in hopes of taking opponents out of their normal offensive flow.
Asked if Perkins was going to check Rondo tonight, Brooks smiled and said: “Absolutely. Perk is begging me to do that. That would be fun. I’m sure the fans would love to see Perk getting down in his defensive stance, pressuring the ball. I don’t know how fun that would be for me watching it.”
We’ll see how serious both Perkins and Brooks are about trying to make this happen.
While Perkins has defended point guards this season, Rondo is far above average, and would likely have his way in that matchup, while making sure to toy with Perkins in the process.
You could see it happening on a switch off of a high pick and roll or something, but lining up Perkins to check Rondo in a straight up man-to-man defensive situation — even for just a single possession — would be basketball suicide.
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.