Perkins Practices for First Time with Thunder

After a late night flight home from Philadelphia, the Thunder pushed its usual 11 a.m. practice session back to noon and worked on some things to shore up both the offense and the defense.

And there was one big addition. Center Kendrick Perkins would join his teammates in his first full-speed practice since joining the Thunder in a trade-deadline deal with Boston on Feb. 24.

“I felt good out there. It was great to finally get on the floor with the guys,” Perkins said. “I give myself about a six on a scale of one to 10, but at least I felt good and I feel good now.”

Perkins sprained his left knee two days before being traded to the Thunder. He’d been working on individual drills until today. Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks isn’t
sure how soon he’ll be able to get Perkins into a game.

“We know it’s going to take him some time (to get ready to play) and we understand that,” Brooks said. “But we like what he brings. We still know we have to get better even when he’s in our lineup. It’s going to depend on circumstances and how he feels. But he looked good out there today. He knows the defensive sets, he’s still working on the offense so we’ll see.”

The Thunder began a string of seven consecutive games against Eastern Conference competition with last night’s
110-105 overtime win in Philadelphia.

“It was a competitive game and a good win for us,” Brooks said. “We made lots of big plays down the stretch. I love the fact that as the game goes on, the competitive spirit rises with this group. That’s been our season all along, but we need to get better starts defensively.”

The start, a 12-2 deficit in the early going, may not have been what the coach wanted but the finish was something to see. The Thunder defense forced the Sixers into three turnovers during overtime and held them to just 2-for-9 shooting. Philadelphia could manage just four points in the last 7:19 of the game.

“That was about as good a defense as we can play there in the second half and especially late in the game,” Brooks admitted.

Now the Detroit Pistons come to town, a team that lost 111-104 in San Antonio on Wednesday night, their ninth loss in the last 12 games.

“I know they’re not playing as good as they would like to but we have to be ready for them," Brooks said. "I like they way our guys came out today after a long game last night and a late flight to be in here and work hard. It was a really good practice. Our guys were excited to be in here, they worked on a lot of things."

The Thunder posted a 105-104 victory in Detroit Oct. 29, the second game of the season for both teams. The Thunder won both games against the Pistons last season.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Oklahoma City Arena. You can see all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.