|Perkins is a fifth wheel no longer||05.17.10 at 1:15 pm ET|
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.
|Better safe than sorry with Perk||05.15.10 at 6:30 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kendrick Perkins, the player primarily responsible for guarding Orlando’s Dwight Howard, was held out of practice on Saturday with a sore right knee. Perkins wore wraps on both knees and kept ice on his right one until the end of practice.
“He tried to go early and it bothered him a lot.” Rivers said. “He wanted to go I said, ‘I don’t need you tonight. You’re not going to help me today in practice. I need you tomorrow.'”
Following practice in Waltham, the Celtics left Saturday for Orlando and Sunday afternoon’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
|Perk reacts to Shaq’s elbow||05.12.10 at 4:08 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Things got a little heated Tuesday in Game 5 of the Celtics series with the Cavs as there were two sets of double technical fouls issued. The first pair were handed out to Kendrick Perkins and Shaquille O’Neal. The second went to Rajon Rondo and Mo Williams.
Rondo didn’t talk to the media Wednesday, but Perkins was asked about the exchange.
“I got caught up in the moment,” Perkins said. “He threw an elbow. He hit me in my neck. I just told him watch his elbows. If you let a guy keep throwing elbows and don’t tell him and let him get too comfortable, he’s going to keep doing it. At some point as a man you got to stand up.”
|Perkins: ‘Without [Rondo], we’d be dead’||05.08.10 at 5:04 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Between Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett alone, it has never been easy to pinpoint the best player on the Celtics. Throw the development of Rajon Rondo into the mix this season, and the task is even tougher.
It’s easy, though, for Kendrick Perkins. Not only does he consider Rondo to be the C’s top player, he also considers him their lifeline.
‘I think right now, he’s the best player on our team,’ Perkins told WEEI.com following practice on Saturday. ‘Without Rondo, nothing goes. Pretty much we’ve got to play him the whole game because he just runs the whole team. Without him, we’d be dead.’
Rondo is playing a team-high 41 minutes per game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cavaliers. His numbers have consistently improved from the regular season throughout the playoffs. In the first three games against the Cavs, he leads with team with 19.3 points and 13.0 assists, more than five points and three assists better than the regular season. He is also shooting 56.8 percent from the field and averaging 5.0 rebounds, more boards than Allen and Pierce.
‘I think he stepped up,’ said Perkins. ‘He’s been more focused than ever, in my opinion, and he’s been doing a great job of leading us.’
|Paul Pierce/Kendrick Perkins press conference||05.07.10 at 11:16 pm ET|
|Thomsen: Celtics considered Perkins trade||at 1:52 pm ET|
According to SI’s Ian Thomsen, Ray Allen wasn’t the only Celtic shopped around at the trade deadline. Thomsen said there were discussions of a Kendrick Perkins for Carlos Boozer deal, which would have changed the landscape of the Celtics roster.
“Everybody had heard they were looking to deal Ray Allen for Caron Butler,” Thomsen said. “It turned out that was never going to happen. The Wizards were going to send Caron Butler to Dallas. But if the Celtics would have been able to make that deal they would have taken some of what they got from Washington and turned that around with Kendrick Perkins and made a deal for Carlos Boozer with Utah. That’s what they were looking to do. I’m not sure if it ever would have gone through, but they were seriously pursuing that end.”
“It would have made them younger and it would allow them to contend for years going forward,” he said. “But it also would have made them even more expensive than ever. I think it just says a lot about the ambition of the franchise and the willingness to spend money if they think it’s going to pay off. That goes against the trend of other teams we’ve seen in the NBA right now.”
To listen to the interview, CLICK HERE.
|Perk unplugged||05.06.10 at 4:35 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kendrick Perkins always looks like a man who gets no respect. He wears the same scowl on his face whether he’s happy or mad. That scowl is what makes opposing fans dislike him and probably doesn’t help his cause with the referees either, to whom he is also constantly showing that same sour puss.
Perkins was left off the NBA’s All-Defensive Team for the second straight season and Doc Rivers joked that maybe that look turned some voters off.
“Well, I guess it’s going to continue to happen,” Perkins said. “Because I ain’t changing the way I look.”
That was a joke in case you needed context and Perkins had a few ready Thursday after he returned to practice with a hyperextended right knee.
His reaction to getting six stitches in his lip courtesy of Shaquille O’Neal?
“Man, I look at it like I’m already ugly,” he said. “I can’t add nothing else to that, man.”
Perkins defense on Shaq has been no laughing matter. After holding Jermaine O’Neal to 9-for-44 shooting in the first round against Miami, Perkins has kept Shaq in check (8-for-22, 20 points in two games). His one-on-one defense in the post is vital because the Celtics feel like they can’t afford to offer help on the Cavs post players.
It’s that ability play imposing post players without help that has begun to make Perkins’ reputation.
“I don’t see why he doesn’t get enough votes for the All-Defensive Team,” Rivers said. “I don’t know if there’s a better on-man defender in the league than Perk at the 5-spot.”
High praise, especially for a player who came into the league with all of the physical tools, but who had to learn from scratch the basics of footwork and positioning. Perkins said that he’s learned from his veteran teammates and included a surprising former mentor.
“I take bits and piece from a lot of guys,” he said. “I watch how [Kevin Garnett] guards some guys. I take a little bit from him. Little bit from Rasheed. I learned some things from Mark Blount too, believe it or not.”
Still, whether he gets respect or not, Perkins is fully confident in his abilities.
“It’s disappointing a little bit because you feel like you can defend better than half of those guys that made it,” Perkins said. “But at the same time, give credit to them for making it.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Why Celtics Will Be Better Than Expected in 2014-15
- Should Celtics Fans Buy or Sell Rondo's Hot Start?
- Lessons Learned from Celtics so Far
- Why Green Will Finally Succeed in Boston
- C's Big Offense Showing a Sign of Things to Come?
- Green's Transition to PF Could Reshape NBA Career Arc
- Could Rondo's Play Increase the Chances He's Dealt?