There were great expectations with the 2007-08 Boston Celtics. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen had joined the most storied franchise in NBA history and would join forces with Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and a 23-year-old center named Kendrick Perkins.

Perkins remembers how that training camp felt. The anticipation. The hope. The vibe.

All those good vibrations turned out to be legit as the Celtics wound up winning the 2008 world championship.

Four seasons later, Perkins is now a member of the Thunder. As he watched Utah play Brigham Young on television earlier this week in his Oklahoma City home, Perkins suddenly felt that same vibe.

He felt it so strongly, Perk wanted to post it on Twitter, but balked.

As the start to the 2011-12 (finally) season approaches, the Thunder is considered a serious contender to win the Western Conference, and you can't win it all without winning the West.

The regular season opens on Christmas Day with a home game against Orlando at 7 p.m. inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder will play exhibition games at Dallas on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and at home against the Mavericks on Tuesday at 7.