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Columnists: Less Kendrick Perkins is a good thing?

05.23.11 at 8:59 am ET
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While many Celtics fans wished Danny Ainge could hit the rewind button on the trade deadline and get more playoff minutes out of Kendrick Perkins, at least two NBA columnists have urged Thunder head coach Scott Brooks to do the exact opposite and give the former C’s center less playing time.

Mavericks center Tyson Chandler is averaging 8.7 points on 60 percent shooting and 12.0 rebounds in 33 minutes a night, leading Dallas to a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. Meanwhile, Perkins has produced just 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 27 minutes a game.

Here’s Oklahoman columnist Darnell Mayberry’s take on the lopsided matchup:

In Perkins’ 82 minutes of playing time, the Thunder has been outscored by 32 points. With Perk on the bench, the Thunder has outscored the Mavs by 23. Furthermore, with Chandler on the court, Perkins’ plus/minus per 36 minutes is minus-17.7, according to NBA.com’s StatsCube data.

Perkins has the worst plus/minus of any Thunder player in this series.

By comparison, the Mavs have outscored the Thunder by 19 points with Chandler on the court. And Chandler has made his impact mostly against Perkins, compiling a per 36-minute plus/minus of plus-17.7 with Perkins on the court and a minus-15.8 with Perkins on the bench.

And here’s ESPN.com columnist and stats guru John Hollinger’s breakdown:

And those slow starts? They’ve magically ended at the exact second Perkins departed. Oklahoma City trailed by five in Game 1 before he went out, by nine in Game 2, and by 15 in this one — 29 points worth of deficits to make up the rest of the night. The Thunder overcame it in Game 2 by scoring on nine straight possessions right after Perk went to the bench; in the other two games, the hill was too big to climb. …

All of which creates a thorny issue for the Thunder. Their best team going forward has Perkins at center, especially a year from now when his surgically repaired knee is in better shape. I still believe that.

But their best chance of winning this series is with Perkins playing a much more limited role. Thus, they have to risk upsetting their centerpiece big man — much as Scott Brooks risked upsetting Westbrook by benching him at the end of Game 2 — and deploying small lineups and [Serge] Ibaka-[Nick] Collison combinations much more readily. If they aren’t willing to yank Perkins from the starting lineup entirely (they could even start [Nazr] Mohammed to avoid ruffling the bench rotation), at the very least they need to cut his 30 minutes from Saturday to a few scraps at the start of each half.

Again, I don’t want to pin all this on Perk; he wasn’t the one shooting all those bricks. But the cold shooting was a one-game phenomenon; the Perkins effect has been all series. Until or unless it changes, the Thunder’s playoff run is unlikely to continue much longer.

Not exactly a rousing endorsement of the Kendricck Perkins era in Oklahoma City.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder Print  |  Email  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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