May 18, 2011, 6:51 PM EDT
Kendrick Perkins is something of a throwback player. In addition to being perhaps the best post defender in the NBA, Perkins is what some might call an “enforcer.” He gets the most out of each one of his fouls, is the admitted master of the moving screen that doesn’t look like a moving screen, never, ever smiles on the court, and isn’t afraid to get into a confrontation with somebody that doesn’t like his physical brand of play.
In the Western Conference Finals, Perkins is lined up against Mavericks Center Tyson Chandler, who is also a banger, and the two only took 70 seconds to get into each other’s faces in game one, resulting in a double-technical. After the game, Perkins confirmed that he has something against Chandler:
“Me and Tyson never got along. I’m serious,” said Perkins, whom the Thunder acquired in a trade deadline deal with the Boston Celtics. “He don’t like me, I don’t like him and that’s pretty much how it’s been. Everybody always looks at me as kind of like a dirty player if you’re on the opposite team, but he’s just as dirty as anybody else.”
Chandler, for his part, seems to just want to play basketball:
“I have nothing against him,” Chandler said of Perkins. “He won a championship with the Boston Celtics, and that’s where I’m trying to take my team. I mean, I’ve got respect for him, what he was able to accomplish. But all the chippy stuff, the after-the-ball stuff, that’s all nonsense and I’m not going to get involved with it.”
Both Chandler and Perkins gave their team a much-needed injection of interior defense and physicality after they were acquired in the off-season and at the deadline, respectively. Now they’re going up against each other in the conference finals, and their battle in the trenches may end up being nearly as important as what Nowitzki and Durant end up doing. Well, maybe not nearly as important. But still pretty important. And there’s some bad blood behind it as well. The battle between the two centers will be something to watch as this series continues to play out.
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