When it comes to homecomings on Monday night, Lamar Odom stole Kendrick Perkins’ thunder – or Oklahoma City Thunder in this case.
But while Odom’s Dallas Mavericks fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in his first return to the Staples Center since being sold up the river to the Mavs, it’s clear Boston still belongs to Perkins and the Celtics no doubt miss a little bit of everything about the big man.
Blame the Celtics getting up there in age for their constant losing ways this season, but let’s be clear: life hasn’t been the same since Perkins stuffed Nate Robinson in his suitcase and was off to Okie City in exchange for Jeff Green last February.
Truth is, Perkins misses Boston too and fends off his “emotional breakdown” on the regular.
“I love Oklahoma — but being here for eight years and winning a championship, it’s hard to replace it,” Perkins said after the game.
“It’s hard. It ain’t like something you can just let go. It’s definitely a difficult situation.”
After the video montage stopped rolling and the standing ovation was over, Perkins put emotions aside and finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds in the Thunder’s 97-88 win. He can now move on with these two franchises experiencing separate highs and lows this season.
The high: At 12- 2 Oklahoma City owns the best record in the Western Conference and have won 7 straight games with a blossoming roster spearheaded by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and anchored by Perkins in the paint.
“I’m certainly happy for Kendrick, but I’m not surprised because his body of work as an NBA player has been one of a no-frills competitor and a guy who gives you an honest day’s work each time on the floor,” Thunder GM Sam Presti told The Oklahoman. “There are a lot of guys who wouldn’t have taken the floor last year not being as highly conditioned as he wanted to be (after knee surgery). That was a sign of his competitiveness.”
The low: Boston has now lost 5 in a row and if the playoffs started today (don’t you love when people use that line), they’d be left to pick up the pieces on the outside looking in and where the aging roster goes from here in the Eastern Conference.
A conference apart, Perkins helps keep the hope alive for the Celtics.
“I know right know they’re struggling, but they have guys over there that have been playing 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 years in the league — really, I mean, honestly — so one thing I know about them as the season goes on, they’re just going to get better as far as in shape and stuff like that,” Perkins added
“So, you can’t ever count them out.”
If only it were that easy.