“Nah, I still don’t watch Sports Center to this day because they’re so…,” Perkins said, his voice trailing off. “I don’t. I haven’t gotten over it.”
Recall the Thunder took the first win of the series, then they seemed to fall apart; Miami went on to win four in a row and capture the title. Perkins shared his thoughts on the the team crumbling in the Finals.
“I think we all understand what it takes to at least get to the Finals,” Perkins said. “I think the Finals was overwhelming to a lot of us. I think we got caught up in just being in the Finals and quit playing basketball.”
“We were too worried about making the right play at all times instead of making the simple play,” agreed Harden.
“I think a lot of guys on our team grew up last year in a lot of ways,” Perkins added.
And here is Perk's take on the Western Conference Finals where the Thunder came back from an 0-2 deficit to win the series:
“We showed a lot of character on how we bounced back in the series against the Spurs,” Perkins said. “But we knew to beat them from the jump, so we just had to face a little adversity. That’s not something that we were proud of, but we did win out the West. I’m not saying that’s not a great accomplishment, but we had a bigger goal than that.”More from Perk:
He knew they could win, down 0-2 in a best-of-seven series to a team with the best record in the West? A team that had won their previous 20 games including sweeps in the first two rounds of the playoffs?
“Absolutely. They did what they were supposed to do and win two games at home, and they did nothing. We just had to make sure we come home and take care of our two and we go in for Game 5,” Perkins said.
“We don’t feel like we just want to be in the playoffs and win games,” Perkins explained. “We’re trying to raise a banner, or a few banners, here. We’re not just trying to get in the playoffs; we figure we can get in the playoffs. We proved we can play in the playoffs. Our goal is to try to win a championship, but we’re just going to take it one game at a time. We’ve got a whole lot of new guys and young guys, so we’ve got to make sure we bring them along and show them what we’re about around here, and make sure we hold ourselves accountable from day one.”When asked how important continuity is to the team he answered:
“Oh, it’s big,” answered Perkins. “I think the first thing is chemistry. I thought the biggest step that we made last year was guys sacrificing and just playing their role. I know it’s hard for – I always say the younger guys, but I’m only 27 myself – it’s hard for guys. You look at guys like Serge (Ibaka) and guys like James, believe it or not, those guys would love to make the All-Star game, I know that. But it’s about sacrifice. It’s all about winning. I told the guys even before we started our playoff run last year that I’d rather win the championship any day than make an All-Star game.”
“Serge came back from this summer and he told me, he said, ‘Man, I felt like God.’ And we didn’t even win the Finals, just from being in the Finals. He’s like, ‘It’s unbelievable.’ I told him, ‘Winning a championship, nothing tops that.’ The biggest step that we made was just sacrificing, guys buying into their roles, buying into the system and that’s why we got that far in the payoffs,” Perkins said.
“I know guys would love to make the All-Star game and stuff like that,” he continued. “But that’s the good thing about our team, they’re not selfish and guys give up themselves even though guys would love to have 20-point games every night. When you win as a team, everybody gets a piece of the pie, and you don’t have anything to worry about on an individual (basis).”
“We lost good veteran leaders in Derek (Fisher), Nazr (Mohammed) and Royal (Ivey),” Perkins said. “We got younger, but a lot of guys that have been here – KD, Russ (Westbrook), James, Serge, Thabo (Sefolosha), we’re getting Eric back – we know what it takes to win. We proved to ourselves and proved to the world that we could take our game to another level. We’ve just got to continue to keep working and stay hungry.
“Stay hungry. At the end of the day, stay hungry,” reiterated Perkins.I love Perk.