Tuesday Bolts – 1.17.12

John Hollinger of ESPN.com on last night’s game: “No, the factors behind Oklahoma City’s league-leading start and the Celtics’ limp to start the season are much deeper than just a role-playing, dirty-work center. Boston appears to be in the death throes of the Garnett-Allen-Pierce nucleus; we’re not ready to read last rites just yet but the patient is definitely critical. That was going to be the case whether Perkins, Jermaine O’Neal or Doc Rivers was the starting center. (O’Neal, for the record, badly outplayed his opposite number, with only his second double-double since becoming a Boston Celtic.)”

Celtics Hub: “Durant-Pierce was a scary matchup before the game, but Pierce ultimately was the one who exposed Durant. He was given a free pass to the basket on several occasions, and got free for some big shots to bring the C’s within two in the fourth. Durant, meanwhile, was going to get his numbers no matter who was on him. Good to see some life from Pierce.”

Via NewsOK, Eric Maynor will get a second opinion on his knee.

Here’s Perk’s return tribute video.

Perk on his return: “That was unbelievable,” Perkins said. “I really appreciate it. I say this time and time again. I really appreciate the whole city of Boston. The whole Celtics organization, just the way that they embrace me time and time again…They didn’t have to do it. I’m not taking it for granted.” Perkins then admitted he’s still a Celtic at heart. “It ain’t like something that you can just let go,” Perkins said. “I’m greatly appreciative of being in Oklahoma. I love Oklahoma. But just being here for eight years and winning a championship, it’s hard to replace it…It still has a special place in my heart.”

Berry Tramel on Perk: “Perkins said he’ll always be a “Celtic at heart,” and you know what? I have no problem with that. I like it that Perk admits that people and a place were important to him. I think that speaks well of Perk as a person. I think in whatever organization we’re in — work, school, friendships, church, doesn’t matter — it’s important to surround yourself with people with those kinds of values. It can only pay off.”

Antenna going up in Chesapeake Arena.

Marc Stein’s power rankings have OKC second: “Anyone out there worried that Durant doesn’t have a 30-point game yet in 2012? Please. The overriding concern in OKC, if there is one, is figuring out whether they really can get by for a whole season without the quiet composure they get from Eric Maynor.

Hollinger moved OKC up to No. 5.

From Elias: “Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook scored 26 in the Thunder’s win over the Celtics on Monday. It’s the 35th time in their four seasons as teammates that Durant and Westbrook have each scored at least 25 points in the same game. No other teammates in NBA history have even had 25 games of each scoring 25 points before turning 24 years old.”

Kurt Helin of PBT: “But this much was clear — Oklahoma City was so much more athletic, more physical so much younger and more energetic. Rondo is the best player on the Celtics and yet at several times and when the game mattered most he could not stop Russell Westbrook. Put simply, the Thunder were better.”

Wes Welker supports the Thunder.

Darnell Mayberry: “Keep an eye on Harden’s production on the road. He struggled with his shooting away from home last season, and he looks to be doing the same thus far this year. The next two doormat of opponents might be just what Harden needs.”