Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins defends his remarks about Lakers

He sat in a chair looking up at the media, his deep baritone Southern drawl noticeable as Kendrick Perkins spoke about his comments regarding the Lakers.

Perkins had started some drama with his disparaging remarks about the Lakers after he had been acquired from the Boston Celtics by the Oklahoma City Thunder before the trade deadline.

Now he was matter-of-fact about his statements.

Perkins said in an interview how he didn't like Pau Gasol or Lakers Coach Phil Jackson because: "Phil is arrogant. Pau is soft. Kobe Bryant tries to bring out his toughness, but he's still soft."

Sunday night, after the Thunder beat the Lakers, Perkins said: "That was my opinion. I know people are entitled to their own opinions. I know people got a lot of different opinions about me.

"So that was just my opinion from the past battles that we've had in the past playoffs. It wasn't nothing that I said out of character or was too crazy. I just spoke my mind in a way. The thing is you've just got to back it up."

Perkins was on the 2008 Celtics team that beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals and on the 2010 Celtics team that lost to the Lakers in Game 7 of the Finals. Perkins didn't play in that final game because he injured both of his knees in Game 6.

Perkins' comments apparently got back to the Lakers.

Perkins and Bryant got into a shoving match and then they were hit with double technical fouls with 5:21 left in the second quarter.

Later in the second, after Bryant scored, Andrew Bynum retrieved the basketball out of the nets and threw it into Perkins' chest.

There was one last moment, when Bryant had some words for Perkins while they stood at the free-throw line with 14.1 seconds left.

"He just asked me if we were happy about this win," Perkins said. "My reply was, 'We're happy about every win. Yeah, we are happy about the win and we are going to be happy if we win tomorrow.' So who's not happy after a win? But you know, it's Kobe being Kobe."

Lakers looking at the West

Jackson doesn't want to hear about the Lakers' failure to catch Chicago. Maybe Miami, too.

"They're on the other side of the country," he said dismissively. "What I told the players [Sunday] is we're not concerned about anything in the Eastern Conference at all. Nothing.

"I said I know you have a lot of people coming up to you and saying, 'Wow, you might be playing Chicago in the Finals.' That's the most ludicrous thing to say."

Because the Lakers and Bulls might not make it that far?

"That's for sure."

Jackson's right, to a degree. Why worry about June when April has been an issue?

On the other hand, if the Lakers advance to the NBA Finals for a fourth consecutive season and play Chicago or Miami, they might regret their recent patch of indifference.



Times reporter Mike Bresnahan contributed to this report.

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