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Perkins is a fifth wheel no longer

Posted By Paul Flannery On May 17, 2010 @ 1:15 pm In General | 2 Comments

Kendrick Perkins continues to shine defensively playing in the shadows of the Big Three and Rajon Rondo. (AP)

Kendrick Perkins continues to shine defensively playing in the shadows of the Big Three and Rajon Rondo. (AP)

ORLANDO — When you think of the Celtics, you think of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce willingly sharing the collective glory. Or maybe you think about Rajon Rondo’s emerging brilliance. Rarely do you think about Kendrick Perkins, the team’s defensive anchor in the paint.

That’s cool with Perk, whose perpetual scowl masks an open and honest individual who doesn’t really mind whether he gets the credit or not.

“Nope,” he said Monday before the team practiced. “I actually like it. It’s cool to have it, but I’m really beyond it. I just do my work. Danny [Ainge] told me something a long time ago. As long as your teammates are fans of yours and the coaches are fans of yours and the organization is fans of yours then you don’t need no any other fans.”

The Celtics certainly appreciate his work.

“Every night with Perk, he’s the tackling dummy.,” Doc Rivers said. “He’s getting hit, he’s getting punched. He’s getting knocked down and all he’s getting is picked up off the floor. But he does it. He doesn’t mind doing it. It’s just as important as a jump shot. Shooters get all the glory. He’s an offensive lineman.”

That changes a little bit in this series as he is matched up against Dwight Howard. This is where Perkins has made his reputation as a post defender, by not giving an inch against the NBA’s most intimidating physical specimen.

“You can’t come into the game like, ‘Oh, I’m playing Dwight, I’m playing Superman,’ ” Perkins said. “You have to come into the game willing to get dirty. I put my nose into the fight. That’s what it is.”

While Howard had his way with the Bobcats and Hawks in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Perkins was going toe-to-toe with Shaquille O’Neal, and he’s got the bruises to show for it.

“It’s about the same.,” Perkins said of the physical challenge. “Shaq’s big and strong. Dwight’s big and strong. Dwight’s quicker and more athletic so it’s a different challenge. You can get hurt against either one of them. I feel it though. Everywhere. You better believe that.”

Perkins goal with Howard is rather simple. Limit his catches deep in the post and try to push him further away from the basket. If the end result is a missed shot, it means that he’s done his work before the ball even got there.

“You try to limit his dunks,” Perkins said. “Any time he has a chance to get a dunk you want to wrap him up and send him to the foul line. When he gets a dunk he gets going. He can make a jump hook, he doesn’t really feel that. He gets his energy off of getting dunks.”

And it doesn’t help to have Rasheed Wallace behind him either since their styles are so different.

“I play him differently than everybody else,” he said. “Rasheed plays mind games with him. I’m just going to be a straight-up physical presence.”

Perkins isn’t doing anything that he doesn’t normally do, right down the scowl, but by staying consistent, he’s getting his due.


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