Though the Oklahoma City Thunder obliterated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of their semi finals matchup, lost in the win was Kendrick Perkins aggravating a right hip muscle strain in the third quarter.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Perkins did not participate in Tuesday’s practice because of soreness. Perkins received treatment in the afternoon and will again on Wednesday. He will be re-evaluated before the game. A final decision must come at least one hour before tipoff.
Despite losing Perkins, the Thunder were still able to put away the Lakers easily. The Lakers’ duo of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were not effective together and didn’t seem to be a factor at all considering Gasol did not impress in Game 1. Gasol scored 10 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and the Lakers were a -29 with Pau on the court. Bynum, on the other hand, was able to score 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and shot 58% from the field.
However, losing Perkins for an extended period of time could be an issue should both Gasol and Bynum find their rhythm and begin to take advantage of their size in the paint against OKC. With Perkins on the court in Game 1, the Thunder were a +14 and he recorded two blocks.
Though the Thunder will more than likely go with Nazr Mohammed in place of Perkins should he not play tonight, not having Perkins’ toughness, defensive presence in the post, championship experience, and ability to disrupt Gasol and Bynum, could make for a long night for OKC if LA’s formidable front court gets rolling.