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Monday Bolts – 3.21.11

Monday Bolts – 3.21.11

Ken Berger on KD’s MVP hopes: “Durant keeps downplaying his own and the Thunder’s success, but the arrival of a legit center in Kendrick Perkins means Oklahoma City is ready to compete with the heavy hitters. If Durant didn’t think he was MVP material before, he will be now if the Thunder finish as strong as I think they will.”

Shoals for ESPN.com on the least significant free agents:  “Especially after Wednesday night’s win over the Miami Heat, no team’s  rise is as eagerly anticipated as that of the young, fresh, and  oh-so-chummy Oklahoma City Thunder. With all due respect to Cook, who  once won the 3-point contest (which could be considered more of a  career-killer than a badge of honor), he might be left by the side of  the road. Russell Westbrook deserves an extension; Kendrick Perkins needs to be worked into the team. Serge Ibaka and James Harden are  growing up fast. General manager Sam Presti must hoard more talent. We  hope Cook knows that self-worth begins within, and no one can take that  from him.”

The Thunder has one of the best benches in basketball.

Perk on missing those late free throws: “When you end a two-point game like that, you can go through the game and pick out little details where you messed up. I’m talking about me personally,” Perkins said. “It’s one of those games where you just have to look yourself in the mirror and come back and be prepared to go against the Jazz for the next game (Wednesday). It was a tough loss. I obviously have to be better in certain situations. I think we can be better as a team, and me personally, I can be better.”

Darnell Mayberry: “This would have been the perfect game for Nate Robinson. Outside of the first six minutes, and James Harden’s efforts in the first half, the Thunder couldn’t get much of anything going offensively all night. Robinson is the perfect spark plug in these situations. He can ignite the crowd and pump life into his teammates. Gonna be interesting to see how much Brooks uses him in these scenarios in the stretch run and the postseason.”

A little Thunder comic strip featuring Perk and the Kool-Aid guy.

Raptors Republic: “The Thunder attack was countered with excellent man-to-man defense on their main weapon, Kevin Durant, by James Johnson who did not concede an inch and didn’t show any respect whatsoever to the superstar. His drives were sealed off without the need of extra help, his attack angles were taken away at the perimeter and he was kept outside the paint for the most part.”

NBA.com power rankings: “Sunday’s loss to the Raptors isn’t easy to explain, but the Thunder defense has picked up considerably over the last five games. They’ve held their opponents to 40 percent shooting and 91.2 points per 100 possessions in that stretch. And yes, Kendrick Perkins probably has something to do with it.”

ESPN.com’s rankings: “You can safely assume that the Thunder didn’t expect to start 9-1 in March with Perk playing in only three of those games. Just as they never expect to lose at home to the Raps no matter who is or isn’t playing.”