Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins is willing to give the San Antonio Spurs credit where it is due for their Western Conference Finals victory and return to the NBA Finals. He just might not give as much credit as you would expect him to.
As passed along by Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman, Perkins is willing to concede San Antonio’s dominance in terms of their smarts, but not in many other areas.
Kendrick Perkins: “The Spurs, they weren’t more athletic than us, they weren’t more talented than us, they just outsmarted us.”
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 1, 2014
His point about Oklahoma City’s athleticism is well taken. In a series that transformed into a clash of styles, the Thunder found success when they were able to get out and run. That was illustrated by any of a number of spectacular plays delivered by point guard Russell Westbrook.
To say that the Thunder were more talented than the Spurs? Perkins is a bit off the mark with that one.
One can read into these comments any number of ways. On the one hand this could simply be seen as a guy who is standing up for his team at the end of a confusing playoff stretch. On the other hand, it could be seen as a veiled shot at head coach Scott Brooks after Gregg Popovich once again put the Spurs in a position to succeed with a number of smart adjustments.
The Spurs are smarter than most teams in the NBA, as evidenced by their ability to carve up opponents in the half court. That is only one of a number of reasons that they are back in the finals, however, which is where Perkins’s comments fall short.