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Fresh off a victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in what could be an NBA Finals preview, the Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem has some strong words for Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. Appearing on Joe Rose's morning radio show on 560-WQAM, Haslem called Perkins a dirty player whose tough guy persona is just an act.
"I think sometimes people just use the cameras and the TV and the crowd to put on a show," Haslem said. "I don’t think he's all that he shows out there on the court."
On Wednesday, Perkins made a hard foul on Dwyane Wade during the second quarter, for which he was charged a technical foul. Haslem said Perkins "got under my skin a little bit."
Though Haslem was not in the game when the foul occurred, he still let him know how he felt about it when he did enter the game. "When I came in, and I was at the free throw line with him, I think I voiced my opinion a little bit," he said. "Not entitled to say what I said last night, but I got a little bit off my chest."
Perkins was not the only player to commit a hard foul Wednesday. Russell Westbrook was called for a flagrant foul when he pulled LeBron James to the ground on a breakaway.
Haslem did not think Westbrook was playing dirty, though. "I think he was honestly trying to make a hustle play and take LeBron away from getting a layup," Haslem said. "It looked bad, coming from behind obviously, with the type of athlete that LeBron is, and just the way it happened."
James said much the same when asked by ESPN at halftime about the play. He simply shrugged it off as something that happens in a hard-fought game.
But Haslem did have a message for Perkins. He said Perkins would not have tried to foul Wade so hard if they were playing on the playground, away from the safety of referees. "Where I’m from, all the talking and the playing like that, at some point it comes to a situation where you have to back it up," Haslem concluded. "And he's never had to back it up because, obviously, the referees always step in."
If the Heat and Thunder do indeed meet up in the NBA Finals, expect some fireworks. But with the Heat and Thunder not scheduled for any more matchups in the regular season, this conflict will sit dormant for awhile, unless Perkins cannot avoid his proclivity to put his foot in his mouth.