Perkins key to Thunder success

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Perkins key to Thunder success

BOSTON Kendrick Perkins is back, looking skinny as ever.

The body might look different, but Perkins is still Perkins.

And his play has been one of the keys to the Oklahoma City Thunder once again holding their own as one of the NBA's elite teams.

His numbers this season - 4.2 points and 4.6 rebounds - don't come close to speaking to the impact he has had on the Thunder who advanced to the NBA Finals a year ago.

"What he does day-in and day-out is perfect for what we need," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "He's not a guy ... we're not going to go to him and say, 'Perk we need 12 points tonight.' He has to continue to bring that toughness, bring that spirit of competition every night and he does it. He does so many good things for us. Every good team needs a guy like Perk."

While Perkins would love to see his numbers improve this season, he understands that doing the dirty work that often goes unnoticed, is vital to his team winning.

"It's definitely hard," Perkins said. "It takes sacrificing. But at the end of the day, I'm trying to win. I know my numbers aren't where they need to be, but at the end of the day ... some games I might take eight, nine shots. Some games I may take none. But at the end of the day, it's about winning. I just try to find differnt ways to get involved."

Like setting screens which has been part of the high-scoring play of Kevin Durant and point guard Russell Westbrook.

"Perk is never going to have big stats," said C's head coach Doc Rivers. "That's not why you have Perk on your team. He just does a lot of other things. You can't put a number on identity or perception, but there is a number. Perk gives that team that."

Much of what folks praise Perkins for, are lessons learned from his playing days with Kevin Garnett.

"Kevin has an influence on everybody," Rivers said. "I thought he really helped Perk, not only on the floor but off the floor, being a professional. Game preparation, there's nobody better in our league than Kevin and now you hear Perk does the same stuff."

Even though they no longer play together, Perkins still calls on Garnett from time to time for advice.

"KG's my mentor, so I'm always going to call him and ask him about the game and stuff like that," Perkins said. "I know he's going to come out and try and take my head off. We'll be cool after the game, but I know what it is."

Perkins, about as candid a player as you'll find in the NBA, makes no secret about coming into tonight's game looking to make a point.

"You always have this certain type of chip on your shoulder being traded," Perkins said. "You always want to come out and show them what you missed. That's what it is."

But balancing that with playing against guys he's still very close to - he and Rajon Rondo still talk everyday - does make these games tougher for him than others.

"It's hard mentally," Perkins said. "You have to get mentally ready just to go against some of my brothers over there, but it's hard. But at the same time, I know they're going to come out and try and win the game like we're gonna try and win the game. At the end of the day, it's a lot of love and respect on both ends. I'm glad we're in different conferences so that if we have to meet up in the playoffs, it would be the (NBA) Finals."

Charlie McAvoy tweeted he hates the Bruins 'so much' in 2013

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Charlie McAvoy tweeted he hates the Bruins 'so much' in 2013

Tweet hunters dug up an old message from a Charlie McAvoy proclaiming his hatred for the Boston Bruins. McAvoy, of course, was drafted 14th by the Bruins in the 2016 NHL Draft.

The tweet read, "I hate the bruins so much" before it was quickly deleted.

I'm sure this will go over well for Bruins fans, even though you really can't blame McAvoy. He was just 15 at the time and a fan of the Rangers, who went down 3-0 in the playoffs against the Bruins.

As fans, we can all relate to that feeling.

Bruins take BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy with the 14th pick in 2016 NHL Draft

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Bruins take BU defenseman Charlie McAvoy with the 14th pick in 2016 NHL Draft

BUFFALO – The Bruins took their highest-rated defenseman when the pick came to them at the No. 14 spot, and they selected Boston University defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who tore up Hockey East as the young player in college hockey last season.

The 18-year-old Charlie McAvoy had three goals and 25 points in37 games for the Terriers while skating in a pairing with Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk, and showed off the kind of elite skating and offensive skills that will play well at the NHL level. It was thought the Bruins would take McAvoy or fellow BU-recruit Dante Fabbro at the 14th spot when they held onto the pick, but that was perhaps shaken a little bit when Jakub Chychrun fell all the way down to their spot.

The Bruins stuck with their scouting instincts and took the offensively gifted McAvoy, who profiles as a next generation NHL player with his sturdy six foot, 208-pound frame and ability to skate like the wind. He was understandably excited, and even said that he’s come around from hating some of the Boston teams as a native New Yorker after spending the year at Boston University.

“I’m at a loss for words. It’s an unbelievable feeling, and I’m just so happy to be a part of the Bruins. I’ve gotten close to [the Bruins] in the past year. I’m sure some of my friends back home aren’t happy I’m cutting the ties with New York sports, but Boston is an unbelievable city with great sports and great people. I’m glad to be staying there,” said McAvoy. “You grow up and taught not to like [Boston teams] because of the rivalry. But I've got a Red Sox hat and that’s the first step. Now I'm got that Bruins jersey and it’s pretty cool. I’ll just keep going, but I don’t know if I could ever be a Pats fan, but we’ll see."

Give McAvoy a little time and perhaps he’ll come around to the right side of the New England Patriots argument after some years spent with the Black and Gold.  

Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs

OFFSEASON

Northeastern's Walker, Ford sign with NBA teams after going undrafted

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Northeastern's Walker, Ford sign with NBA teams after going undrafted

The NBA will have more of a Northeastern flavor this season.

The Huskies' star guard David Walker is joining the Miami Heat for the NBA's summer league in Orlando and Las Vegas, according to Sports Illustrated's Jake Fischer.

Walker averaged 17.9 points and 4.0 assists per game as a senior at Northeastern.

Quincy Ford is heading to the Utah Jazz with a partially guaranteed three-year contract after averaging 16.4 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game as a senior. That deal was first reported by The Vertical's Shams Charania.