Western Conference Finals Preview: Tim Duncan vs. Kendrick Perkins

By Joe Buettner

May 18, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum (17) controls the ball against the defense of Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) during the first half of game three of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

At a hulking 6’10”, 270-pound figure, Kendrick Perkins is as intimidating as they come. Once again the Spurs face a center good enough to start for just about any other team in the league. So once again, can San Antonio match Oklahoma City’s front court?

Eight games may not be an adequate sample size, but yes, the Spurs are capable of playing at a high level with the likes of Al Jefferson, Derrick Favors and Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan in the paint. The Spurs have substantially exceeded expectations in these playoffs, and against Oklahoma City, the success should continue.

No doubt, Kendrick Perkins is a massive player, but against The Big Fundamental? Let’s just say I’m not so sure the Thunder benefit much from trading away Jeff Green for Perk.

Perkins truly works from the low post, but does not put up big numbers every night. With guys like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, you don’t need a post that can put up 20 a night.

However, Perkins, and let’s thrown in Ibaka as well, will not be able to get those easy points two feet away from the basket. Tim Duncan has the ability to play away from the rim, and force the defender to come out of his comfort zone.

If Duncan can continue to shoot that high-percentage mid-range jumper, Perkins is going to have decide whether he wants to contest it or go after a rebound. Duncan’s game, he’s very versatile, will be a problem for Kendrick the entire series.

In their three meetings, Perkins struggled with Duncan on the floor. While his point total is typically low, Perkins was challenged heavily by Duncan and DeJuan Blair at grabbing the boards.

All in all, Perkins is a good post, but Duncan is one of the best post to ever play the game. Perkins has slimmed down a bit, and is not as heavy as he once was. That should come in handy in a seven-game series.

However, this is a battle Duncan wins four out of seven times. Perkins has a championship ring as well, so he knows a thing or two about deep runs in the playoffs. Though, Duncan is playing like it’s 1999, and I do not see any decline any time soon.