Perkins, 'humble' Thunder ready for Heat in Finals

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Perkins, 'humble' Thunder ready for Heat in Finals

Last season, Kendrick Perkins was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder after winning an NBA championship and making two Finals appearances. Sixteen months later, he is returning to the Finals again, this time as a member of the Western Conference champions.

Perkins, the Thunders starting center, addressed the media on Monday in advance of Game 1 against the Miami Heat on Tuesday.

I think as far as the team goes, we have one of the hardest playoff schedules this year, having to go through the Dallas Mavericks, the (Los Angeles) Lakers, the (San Antonio) Spurs, and now having to face the Heat, he said. There really werent any free rides this year during the playoffs. I think we're battle tested, so I think we'll step up to the plate.

The Thunder trailed the Spurs 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals before coming back to win four straight, including the final two games on the road. While the Thunder have home court advantage in the championship series, they are proof themselves that it doesnt guarantee success.

I think one thing about us, we stay humble and just continue to work and play hard, he said. Like Coach always says, it's the first team to four. It's the first team to four wins that actually wins the series, so you can't walk in here and think we've got home court advantage so we're going to win the series. The home court advantage team lost in The Finals last year.

But after reaching the Finals in 2008 and 2010 as a member of the Celtics, Perkins knows firsthand the impact playing on his own turf can have on a series.

It's always good when you're at home, he said. I think our fans give us a lot of energy, a lot of confidence, including myself, let alone the other guys on the team. It gives myself a lot of confidence. We do have the best fans in the world.

Follow along with CSNNE.com during the NBA Finals for news and updates on Perkins.

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

Crowder on Cousins' style: 'Step up to the test or you get run over'

BOSTON – There was a point in the fourth quarter when Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins was fouled trying to score which brought about an automatic, intense and angry scowl from the all-star center. 

He raised his hand as he were going to strike back at the potential assailant. 

And then he saw the man was Jae Crowder. 

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Cousins, who had a game-high 28 points, then went to the free throw line, incident-free. 

“I’m not one those other cats he be punking,” said Crowder with a grin.

That moment was one of many throughout Friday night’s game when Crowder made his presence felt when the game mattered most, and wasn’t afraid to mix it up with whoever stood between him and helping the Celtics win – even Cousins. 

But as Crowder explained following Boston’s 97-92 win, that moment was about two physical players who have developed an on-the-floor rapport that speaks to their intensity and desire to win at all costs. 

“He’s going to bring the game to you; his physicality,” said Crowder who had 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting. “He’s a very physical type of guy. If he senses you’re not physical at all, he’ll let you know. He’s a dog down there; he’s a bull. I love to go against a player like that. He’s going to give you his best shot each and every night. You either step up to the test or you get run over.” 

As soon as the two made eye contact, Crowder knew it was one of the many intimidation methods used by Cousins against opposing players. 

Crowder wasn’t having it. 

“That’s my guy; he’s my guy,” Crowder said of Cousins. “He plays a lot of tactics against a lot of other players. I’ve earned that respect with him. He knows I’m going to fight him just as hard as anybody else. We leave it on the court. He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve become friends, just playing ball, playing basketball the right way.”