The Oklahoma City Thunder swept the Dallas Mavericks and will now wait for their next opponent whether it be the Los Angeles Lakers or the Denver Nuggets.
And this waiting period for the Thunder could not come at a better time since Kendrick Perkins has been listed as day-to-day after suffering a strained right hip in Game Four.
“We’ll evaluate it tomorrow and see how he feels,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said after his team’s 103-97 victory to clinch its first-round playoff series 4-0 against the defending world champion Dallas Mavericks.
With the Lakers and Nuggets locked in a very physical series, the Thunder can only hope that series goes six or seven games and the two teams beat up on each other.
Moreover, having Perkins back at 100 percent will also be key for the Thunder in facing either the Lakers or Nuggets. Both teams have physical bigs like Andrew Bynum for Los Angeles, and JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried for Denver. Having Perkins there to challenge these bigs is necessary if Oklahoam City wants any chance at advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
In the regular season, Perkins averaged 2.7 points, 1.3 blocks, 5.3 rebounds, and 50 percent shooting in three games versus Denver. However, against the Lakers is where Perkins shined. In three regular season meetings, he averaged 6.3 points, 2.0 blocks, 9.0 rebounds, and shot 57 percent from the field.
Moreover, the big man depth chart is not that great for the Thunder. After Perkins, players such as Nazr Mohammed, Serge Ibaka, and Nick Collison might be able to hold the fort down but do not possess the toughness, intimidation, and championship presence like Perkins gives the Thunder.
Against the Mavs in their first-round series, Perkins averaged 3.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 39 percent shooting in 22.3 minutes.