Kendrick Perkins has some interesting comments about Russell Westbrook

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Kendrick Perkins is an interesting sort of guy. He’s constantly scowling on the court, racking up technical fouls and getting into it with opponents. But off the court? He’s a friendly dude. He even smiles every now and then. So when Perkins talks about his teammate Russell Westbrook being two entirely different people on and off the court, he’s speaking from experience. He knows what it’s like to maintain an on-court persona, even if it doesn’t blend with you actually are away from the hardwood.

That makes Perkins pretty qualified to understand and comment on Westbook’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act, and he did just that to ESPN.com’s Justin Verrier:

“He’s night and day how he is off the court,” said Kendrick Perkins. “On the court, just joking here, but you want to strangle him a little bit. But he’s night and day. He gets in a zone, man, and he just feels like he’s the best player on the court. Seriously.”

Via ESPN.com | Justin Verrier

It’s not hard to believe that there are times when Perkins wants to strangle Westbrook for taking a contested pull-up 22 footer in traffic with 18 seconds left on the shot clock. He’s a maddening player to watch, but you sort of have to let him be him. Even though he’s made strides as a distributor, when it’s knuckle-up time, you better believe Westbrook thinks he’s the guy that’s most well-equipped to bring home a win.

Perkins isn’t a stranger to dealing with confident, unrelenting point guards. After all, he played with Rajon Rondo in Boston — another lightning rod player. Although the two have very different playing styles, they evoke similar emotions with the way they conduct themselves on the court. They’re both just kind of…what’s the word I’m looking for? Help me out, Kendrick.

“They definitely different [from other point guards],” Perkins said. “They both some divas. In a good way though.”

That’s it! Divas in a good way. Westbrook and Rondo are both unapologetic, in your face types of players, and that’s not what we typically associate point guards with. They aren’t running the show — they are the show. That attitude makes them great, but it also destines them for a career of rubbing people the wrong way. That’s never going to change.

And that’s why diva is the perfect word, even if it has a negative connotation. Westbrook and Rondo know who they are, and they make no apologies for it. They take pride in it — just like a diva would. You love ’em or hate ’em. I don’t know which guy is Diana Ross and which is Mariah Carey in this analogy, but hey, Perkins is still spot on with his analysis.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.