As usual, Kendrick Perkins' face had a scowl, but instead of it being voluntary in hopes of intimidating opponents, this one was from the beating he took -- physically, and later verbally -- from the Wizards.
John Wall missed a jump shot in the first quarter, and as Perkins went for the rebound he was challenged by Trevor Ariza, who sent him to the floor at Verizon Center for a standing-8 count. Perkins was smashed over the right eye by Ariza's left hand. And when Perkins got up, he was the only player back for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He broke up a 3-on-1 fast break by hammering Nene across the forearm for the foul.
Nene, frustrated at Perkins' physical tactics, picked up his third foul with 3:09 left in the second quarter when Perkins stiff-armed him from behind. Nene turned to chop down it down with a clinched fist to Perkins' wrist. He went to the bench without complaining about the foul call, a tacit acknowledgement that it may have been deserved but feeling what he did was justified. Then there was the skirmish for the loose ball at 5:46 of the third quarter in which Perkins jumped on top of Nene, who quickly turned the tables. Fortunately, officials and teammates on both sides jumped in to play peacemakers before it got nasty.
Then about 90 seconds later, when Wall made free throws, the testy behavior grew contagious as Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka shoved him.
Nene finished with 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Perkins missed all three of his field-goal attempts in 20 minutes of play.
"That's what that dude can do. He can't do anything else, man," Nene said. "That dude got zero points. Let's keep it tame."
In other words, Nene consciously stopped himself. As he left the locker room, guess who came walking down the hallway? Perkins, with a bandage over his eye. They ignored each other and didn't exchange a nod or the usual "Good game" pleasantries.
Nene had nothing but praise for the NBA's leading scorer, Kevin Durant, but took a polite dig at him, too.
"First of all, pray," he said of how the Wizards were able to hold Durant to 8-for-21 shooting. "Second, have good luck. The third, do your best. That dude is very skilled, long body, tall, skinny but strong for that kind of body -- and the referees are allowing him to carry the ball."