A small corner of the sports world is pinning OKC’s Game 2 loss on Russell Westbrook and his poor shooting night.But most NBA diehards (experts, writers, and former players) are blaming two people this morning: Kendrick Perkins, and coach Scott Brooks.
Perkins — the Thunder’s perpetually angry centre — was crushed on the defensive boards by the quicker Chris Bosh, and the Thunder were outscored by 16 points when he was on the floor (the worst margin of any OKC player).
It’s not all Perkins’ fault.
The Heat used their small lineup (with Bosh at centre and Shane Battier at the 4) almost exclusively last night. In that sort of perimeter-based game, Perkins is just a less effective defensive option than quicker big men like Serge Ibaka or Nick Collison.
So it was up to Scott Brooks to do something he’s shown a reluctance to do throughout the playoffs — switch up his rotations and leave Perkins on the bench. And he didn’t until deep in the forth quarter.
Shane Battier is shooting 69% from three-point range this series — largely because the Thunder are still playing Perkins and Ibaka together, and neither of them can stay with Battier around screens.
If the Thunder are willing to adjust their rotations to match-up with Miami’s small lineup, it could be an easy fix for Game 3. But they’re going to have problems as long as they leave the Perkins-Ibaka duo on the floor together.
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