By Randy Renner
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins has frequently been the target of criticism from both fans and members of the media for his lack of offensive skills.
Few players though have a better understanding of what needs to happen defensively (and offensively) for that matter for the Thunder to succeed.
We had a chance to talk to Perk before he and his teammates flew to Memphis for tonight's Game 3 and we thought we'd share some of his insights in a mostly unedited transcript of his interview session.
What was the message today from Coach Brooks?
"A sense of urgency coming out from the jump. Paying close attention to details on what we need to do. Getting into our offense early, settin screens. Just doin the little things that we need to do."
You're going to have to win a game on the road now, how difficult is that?
"One thing we good at is bouncing back from each individual. We take a lot of pride in what we do. It don’t matter if you on the road or at home, I figure you getting to where you wanna go and tryin to win a championship you gonna have to go through some adversity and you gonna have to go get a win on the road. At the end of the day you still just gotta go play basketball . It’s still 94 feet, the goal still 10 foot so it don’t even matter."
What about Kevin Durant how can he get freed up from Tony Allen?
"He’s still averaging 35 in the series, but I think he gotta set up shop a little lower and just go into attack mode. We gotta do a better job of settin screens. Overall we just gotta do a better job of runnin our offense running it with pace and I think that’ll help Kevin out along with everybody else. And he may not have 30 points sometimes he may have to be a decoy and just have 15. Maybe Serge can roll to the basket and get some dunks cuz Tony Allen be scared to help so. It aint all about just getting KD off. I mean he may have to be a decoy, it happens."
What happens at the end of a close game always gets the most attention but can something that happens early have just as big an impact?
"Like what a lot of people don’t realize is it don’t come down to what happened the last minute of the game. Sometimes what happened the first 15 minutes of the game could effect what went on the last minute, so, if we aint grab an offensive rebound, or if we had a turnover early in the game that could cost us two or three points comin down the stretch."
What do you guys have to do to win the game?
"They dont take quick shots ever, so we know that. think led the league in that category as far as all they shots mostly come under six seconds, they gonna run they offense, they gonna duck in, they gonna post the ball so I mean we gotta be prepared for that." (In other words don't fall asleep on defense, gotta play the full 24 seconds of the shot clock).
"And then I think we just gotta put pressure on (Marc Gasol) and one thing that he does is he finds his cutters. Tony Allen gonna be cutting around the baseline where a lot of guys just sit at the 3-point line, well he cuts and cuts behind the defense and find the open gap so I think at the end of the day we gotta make sure we get back to him and Serge (Ibaka), who’s startin off on him, we gotta put a lot of pressure on him so he cant see those wide open lanes and he cant pass the ball."
You guys got hurt again by someone unexpected, an x-factor kinda guy, how important is it to make sure that doesn't happen again?
"Each game is like a one game series. You cant have a guy come in and be the x-factor and I thought as far as us bigs we tried to a great job of forcing them out to make them take tough shots and they gonna score some baskets so I know that we playin em straight up with no help,so they gonna score some baskets, its gonna happen but let Beno Udrih have 14 in 14 minues and we cant let Courtney Lee have 16 points, we gotta take those guys outta the equation. They can’t be a factor in this series and (Monday) they were so we gotta change that up."
So there you go, The World According To Perk and what the Thunder need to do to beat the Grizzlies in Memphis.