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Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was shooting free throws when reporters were allowed out onto the practice area at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center. When asked how his big man was doing Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said, “better, he participated in most of the shoot-around. We’ll see how he feels when he comes back to the arena tonight. He’ll be a game time decision.”
That was Perkins’ status Monday too and after warming up on the floor at Chesapeake Energy Arena he told his coach he was good to go. Perkins aggravated his right hip muscle strain in the third quarter of Monday’s win over the Lakers but could have played in the fourth quarter if the Thunder had needed him.
Brooks knows Perkins gung-ho attitude will likely lead him to say he’s ready to go tonight whether he really is or not so Brooks will likely rely more heavily on what the Thunder medical staff says.
“I will definitely talk with doctors. Our medical team, Perk and myself we all will get together and we’ll do what’s best for Perk.”
With that out of the way we move to the next big question which also happens to be the one FOX 25’s Myron Patten asked Kobe Bryant in the postgame news conference the other night, ‘can you guard them?’
And in particular can Kobe, or anyone else wearing purple and gold, stop or slow down Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, especially when he’s running the pick and roll?
“Historically, for whatever reason we have not been a good defensive screen & roll team,” Bryant told reporters Tuesday at Lakers practice, “we talked about that a little bit, things we have to do differently, things we have to do a little better.”
Bryant tried to play coy when he was asked if he would again guard Westbrook from the opening tip as he did Monday night, “no comment,” he said with a smile.
You can probably take that as meaning Kobe will be the main man on Westbrook at least most of the time and Bryant says taking away the Thunder point guard’s mid-range game will be as important as doing something about those pick & rolls.
“We’ve got to address that and not give him those pot shots. You can see it’s something he’s worked on. It’s not a weakness anymore, it’s a strength.”
Westbrook told reporters the Lakers need to watch out because if they take away some of what he does on offense then that will surely open up other guys who are more than capable of slinging daggers.
“It’s tough we’ve got a lot of guys who can catch and shoot, Kevin, Daequan, James, Fish so you gotta pick your poison.”
Funny he should say that because that’s what Metta World Ron Artest jokingly (?) said about how the Lakers could best slow down Westbrook, “I don’t know, maybe poison his cereal,” he was quoted as saying.
Fortunately, those of us who’ve spent time at the arena before games know Russ doesn’t eat cereal as his pre-game meal. It’s usually chicken fingers or sometimes just popcorn.
Whatever is on his plate tonight security might want to give it a taste test just to make sure.