The Oklahoma City Thunder haven’t stopped seeing big-time production from their superstar forward Kevin Durant. We’re just four days removed from his NBA-wide season-high 54-point outburst against the Golden State Warriors, and he didn’t show any signs of taking his foot off of the gas on Tuesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers.
With much of his supporting cast struggling to provide efficient offense against Portland, Durant rose up and put up a monster performance. In 38 minutes, KD put up 46 points, five boards and four assists while shooting a remarkable 17-25 from the floor, 6-7 from three and 6-7 from the foul line.
While Durant’s line was impressive, arguably the most shocking and jaw-dropping moment of the night came late in the game with the outcome still in question. With just under two minutes remaining, Damian Lillard tried to put up a shot in the post, but oft-maligned Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins came over and swatted it away to the Thunder to give them possession. Perkins then ran down the floor and knocked down a jumper to give the Thunder a four-point lead and give OKC control in the waning moments of the game. Oklahoma City went on to secure a 105-97 victory, pulling away thanks to two Durant threes.
Perkins’ night overall was relatively and unsurprisingly uninspiring. In 27 minutes he managed four points, eight boards, two assists, one steal and the one timely block. However, it was the timely nature of Perkins’ block and half of his scoring output that was important in the Thunder’s victory.
It’s pretty clear at this point that Perkins isn’t capable of doing much in terms of his offense. However, if he can make timely defensive plays and at least be relied upon to convert on easy shot opportunities, it’s going to be a big help to this Thunder team—especially with Russell Westbrook out. This is still Durant’s team and Perkins certainly isn’t a threat to change that, but him providing some sort of assistance in a timely instance is a positive sign.