|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|
Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins speak to the media after suffering an embarrassing 124-95 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
|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.”
That would have left the Celtics with a starting five of Kevin Garnett, Boozer, Paul Pierce, Butler and Rajon Rondo. Thomsen said it would have been a good move, but one that would have been pricey.
“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.”
|Garnett practices, feels good||at 2:29 pm ET|
WALTHAM –Kevin Garnett returned to Celtics practice Thursday and by all accounts, enjoyed a quick recovery from what the team called a right mid-foot strain.
“I’m feeling really good,” Garnett said. “Went through practice today. It was pretty hard. Good day. I’m not injured. I just banged my foot, got on the plane and it blew up on me. Nothing more, nothing less than that.”
Garnett added that, “I’ll definitely be ready to go [in Game 3, Friday].”
Garnett appeared to injure his foot when Kendrick Perkins landed on his foot in the first half. He sort of verified that version of events.
“Little bit,” Garnett said. “The good thing is I was able to finish the game strongly.”
Garnett, and Perkins (hyperextended knee) were both held out of practice Wednesday. Perkins was deemed precautionary and no one was surprised that he returned Thursday. Garnett’s was a little trickier. He apparently wanted to practice Wednesday, but was shut down by Doc Rivers.
“We live on the planet of Doc Rivers,” Garnett said. “And on that planet sometimes you have to sit out a day”
Rivers expressed his doubt yesterday that Garnett would have been able to practice, but he was pleasantly surprised by his recovery.
“He’s good,” Rivers said. “He went most of the practice and moved pretty well. I was surprised he went, yeah. Eddie [Lacerte, the team's trainer] and I, but the swelling went down a lot yesterday and none today. He said he didn’t feel any pain, so that was good. We expected Perk, but Kevin was a surprise. Perk looks fine. He moved pretty well. For Perk. He moved well for Perk.”
One way to tell that Garnett was feeling good was he was in a joking mood with the media. Someone asked him, how he “woke up Rasheed Wallace.” Garnett replied, “I slapped his [butt].” He was kidding. We think.
|Garnett, Perkins miss practice||05.05.10 at 2:55 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins both missed Wednesday’s practice with injuries, but both are expected to play Friday when the Celtics series with the Cavaliers resumes at the Garden.
Of the two, Garnett’s is apparently more worrisome. He suffered what the team called a right mid-foot strain late in the fourth quarter of Game 2. He arrived for practice but was told to shut it down by Doc Rivers.
“Honestly, today, if we had a game I don’t think he could have played,” Rivers said. “We just have to wait. I doubt if he’ll practice tomorrow. We’ll see. Perk we think will be all right. I don’t know if he can practice tomorrow either.”
Perkins suffered a hyperextended right knee during the team’s shootaround but did score 10 points and have nine rebounds in 30 minutes. He was also a team-best +20 in plus/minus. Perkins had a bout with knee tendinitis in March.
The Cavs have their own injury problems with LeBron James undergoing another MRI on his right elbow and Anderson Varejao missing part of the fourth quarter with back spasms. Varejao was examined by the team doctors Tuesday. The series has a three day break between games, which now seems like a very good thing for both teams.
“The rest, we were complaining, but now it turns out that rest is good for everybody,” Rivers said. “It’s probably good for Cleveland. They have a chance to get healthy.”
Garnett was not present to talk to the media Wednesday, but Perkins did an expressed confidence that both he and Garnett would play Friday.
“I’ll be ready for Friday,” Perkins said. “Hopefully I can practice [Thursday.] Kevin wanted to practice. He was mad that Doc wanted him to sit out. He’ll play.”
Perkins said that he hurt himself running and joked that he was, “just being clumsy. It happens.”
UPDATE: Garnett’s injury may have actually come in the second quarter when Perkins landed on his foot. Here’s the video:
|C’s expect hostile environment||04.21.10 at 4:44 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Take a team that is playing for its playoff lives, add in a 29-point loss that their coach called “embarrassing,” sprinkle in some existing bad blood and the Celtics know that they will be walking into a frenzied arena Friday night for Game 3.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Doc Rivers said. “I told them that. Guys, at the end of the day all we’ve done is win two home games and Miami has yet to play a home game. That’s how they’re thinking for sure. Whether we won last by one, or whatever we won by, Game 3 is going to tough and we understand that.”
Kevin Garnett noted that when he traveled to Miami for the Eastern Conference Finals in 2006 to watch Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace play with the Pistons that the crowd was a factor.
“Just anticipating it being very hostile,” Garnett said. “Watching Chauncey and Rasheed play them, how hostile and how crazy that town can get when they’re behind their team. It’s what we’re anticipating.”
The Celtics were a very good road team this past season. They were tied with Cleveland for the best road record in the Eastern Conference at 26-15 and were one game behind Dallas’ league-best mark. They beat Cleveland, Orlando, the Lakers, San Antonio and Dallas all on the road, but that was the regular season.
“It’s great to know that you can win on the road, but again, Miami could care less about our regular season the road,” Rivers said. “And we could care less about it. We have to come ready to play. The playoffs are a different beast.”
“Regular season is regular season,” Garnett added. “I never mix the two, to be honest.”
Instead the Celtics said they take their lessons from past playoff experiences and specifically from their seven-game series with Atlanta two seasons ago. Read the rest of this entry »