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Perkins could provide all-world defense for Team USA 02.10.10 at 2:39 pm ET
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Perkins could add some defensive toughness to Team USA (AP)

When Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski were forming the potential pool of players for Team USA, they were looking for a “true center” who could guard potential big men all around the world.

They may have found that man in Kendrick Perkins.

On Wednesday, Perkins was named to the 27-man roster that is eligible to compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey and, if the team qualifies, in the 2012 London Olympics. The 27 players will be invited to a July mini-camp in Las Vegas, where the roster will be trimmed down going forward.

Perkins’ selection was one which which Krzyzewski – who led the 2008 team to a gold medal – was comfortable because of the center’s ability to play with Hall of Fame talent and his most glaring strength…defense.

“He plays on a team that’s a championship level team and he knows how to play with great players,” Krzyzewski said during a teleconference on Wednesday. “I think he is one of the better defensive players in the league and that really appealed to us about Kendrick.”

Perkins will be competing with Dwight Howard, Brooke Lopez, Ama’re Stoudemire and former Celtic Al Jefferson for one of the center spots on the 2012 Olympic team. Colangelo said Perkins could fit in and be the perfect role player on a team that will highlight some of the best talent in the NBA.

“We are not talking about the top 27 or 28 best all-around basketball players necessarily. Perkins can guard the bigs,” said Colangelo. “He should be able to perform very well competitively very well in the international game.

“As we look at our roster there is also a need for how are you going to defend against the bigs that we see on a number of European teams, South American teams and he has the ability to do that. He has a significant opportunity.”

Perkins is averaging a career-high 11.4 points per game this season, while grabbing 8.1 rebounds a night. He is also averaging just under two blocks a game, and has been one of the most consistent and healthy players for a banged-up Celtics squad this season.

Perkins was the only Celtics player selected to the pool of 27, a list that didn’t include first year All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo.

“Rondo was not responsive to the inquiries regarding his interest,” said Colangelo, who said along with Andrew Bynum, three or four unnamed players declined the invite. “So we just assumed that was the case.”

The US team is loaded at the point guard position, with Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Chauncey Billups all being selected to the pool. Jason Kidd declined the invite, as he retired from international competition after the 2008 Beijing Games with a gold medal.

Nine players and the entire coaching staff return from the 2008 gold medal team, including Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. To see the entire list click here.

Read More: Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, team usa,
Perkins on Team USA at 11:19 am ET
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Kendrick Perkins is one of 27 players named to USA Basketball’s national roster who will compete in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey this summer and the 2012 London Olympics. Perkins joins eight holdovers from the 2008 gold-medal winning team. Conspicuously absent from the list, which is not yet final: Rajon Rondo.

Click here for the full roster.

Read More: Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, USA Basketball,
Celtics react to Grizzlies unexpected streak 01.26.10 at 12:51 pm ET
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If you were told at the start of the season that among the Celtics and Grizzlies, one team would win 11 straight at home while the other would lose three consecutive games on their own turf, chances are you would pick the Celtics to be streaking.

That’d be the wrong answer.

The Grizzlies have not lost at home since falling to the Celtics on December 14, 2009. After winning just 16 games in Memphis last season, they have put together a string of victories that includes wins over the playoff contending Nuggets, Jazz, Suns, and Spurs.

On Monday, they extended the streak to 11 with a win over the Magic, the Celtics’ next opponent, tying the previous mark set by the Cavaliers and Lakers this season.

“It’s pretty tough,” Rasheed Wallace said when told of the Grizzlies achievement. “You have good teams coming in night in and night out, some top-notched teams and some teams that are lower than you that are not playing on your level. That’s what makes it harder because you want to try to get your ball club to stay on that high level and not stoop down.”

Even though the Celtics have won their last two games at home, they can appreciate the Grizzlies accomplishments. This season they learned how vulnerable they can be on their own court. After posting 35-6 records at the TD Garden the previous two seasons, the Celtics uncharacteristically dropped three in a row this month. The C’s understand what goes into a streak like the Grizzlies.

“It’s very hard, but I think they’re focused,” said Kendrick Perkins. “They’re playing with a  lot of confidence, they’ve got a pretty good coach over there, good young talent, and they’re just sticking together, grinding out games.”

Perkins knows firsthand the obstacles faced by a young team, making the Grizzlies streak that much more notable. He was a member of the 2007 Celtics squad that lost 18 straight during a rocky youth movement.

“They’re young but their basketball IQ’s a little bit better than how we were,” he said. “They’re playing team ball and tough defense. They’ve got a lot of smart guys.”

The Grizzlies will look to extend their home streak to 12 on Saturday against the Hornets, while the Celtics will try to make it three in a row in Boston on Sunday against the Lakers. The Grizzlies will test the C’s at the TD Garden on March 10.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Memphis Grizzlies, Rasheed Wallace
Banged Up, Perkins Can Still See Woes Clearly 01.18.10 at 11:39 pm ET
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BOSTON – Kendrick Perkins walked into the locker room with a bandage on his cheek. The big man caught an elbow from Dirk Nowitzki while he was trying to block a shot and ended up with six stitches under his right eye.

In spite of the battle wound, Perkins could still see the Celtics’ problems clearly. They have dropped the past three games at home after giving up a 12-point lead to the Mavericks on Monday night. The Celtics are now 11-7 in Boston this season and 4-6 in their last ten games.

“We’re not putting together a full game, obviously, so we’re playing in spurts,” he said following the C’s 99-90 loss. “We’re not playing for 48 minutes. The first half was pretty great tonight. Second half, third quarter we gave up 34 points and we can’t do that.”

In addition to blowing a third quarter lead to the Mavericks, the Celtics have been outscored in the fourth quarter in their last four games. They are 1-3 during that stretch, except for a win over the Nets. Extended minutes and fatigue all come into play late in the games. So does the absence of a leader whose intensity is heightened down the stretch.

“You need Kevin [Garnett], we needed Kevin tonight,” said Perkins. “I think [the Mavericks] match up pretty well with this defense and the way Dirk stretches the court, Kevin could guard guys like this. So I guess we needed him, but we couldn’t do it.”

Even with the bandage under his eye, Perkins has a clear perspective on the Celtics’  recent woes.

“[It's been an] up and down season,” he said. “I think we’re playing in spurts during the season so some games we look like a championship team, some games we look pretty old, but we’ve just been playing in spurts.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett,
Celtics stay loose at practice 01.16.10 at 2:32 pm ET
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WALTHAM — After losing to the Bulls on Thursday night, the Celtics stayed loose during Saturday’s open practice. The uplifting mood was good for the team.

“After losses, sometimes guys can be mad at each other a little bit,” said Kendrick Perkins. “Sometimes we need a little laughter in the gym, stuff like that. I think that helped us.”

First some news before the notes …

- Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot)  is expected to play on Monday against the Mavericks. “Definitely, I’m going to go Monday,” he said after practice. “I’ve got one more [practice] to get under my belt. I’ll be fine.” Doc Rivers said the team will make a final decision after observing Wallace in practice on Sunday. Wallace, who has missed the last three games, is eager to shake the injury that has been bothering him for some time. “It happened a while ago,” he said. “I’ve been playing on it for two weeks. The last few minutes in the Toronto game last week, that sort of did it.”

- J.R Giddens and Bill Walker faced off in a slam dunk contest. Marquis Daniels and Wallace were the official judges, holding up their scores on dry-erase boards. Walker started off strong with a windmill dunk but it was Giddens who stole the show. “The between the legs one? A 10,” ranked Perkins. “That was alright, especially in practice.” Just alright? The dunk sent Eddie House running around the court and had Glen Davis rolling backward.

- House and Ray Allen took to the line for a free throw competition. The team’s top two free throw shooters were flawless despite desperate attempts from the Celtics to distract them. Rivers encouraged the crowd to make noise, Paul Pierce leaped under the basket as House and Allen squared up, the buzzer sounded, even Danny Ainge threw up shots to shake the pair. In the end, the duel ended in a tie without either player missing a free throw.

The Celtics will practice — think drills, not contests — on Sunday before taking on the Mavericks Monday night at 8pm in Boston.

Read More: Bill Walker, Boston Celtics, J.R. Giddens, Kendrick Perkins
Bulls catch C’s at a ‘good time’ 01.15.10 at 12:28 am ET
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Time after time this season, opposing head coaches have complained about their teams not responding to the physical challenge that is the Boston Celtics on the parquet.

Chicago’s Vinny Del Negro, who will always be associated with blowing a 35-point lead at Sacramento earlier this season, didn’t have to worry about his team’s toughness on Thursday night.

They went toe-to-toe with the Celtics, the same team that eliminated them last spring and came away with their first win in Boston in six tries, 96-83.

Whether it was Boston playing its fourth game in five nights, whether it was the Celtics being without Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett again or whether it was just Chicago playing its best road game of the season, the Bulls walked out of TD Garden with a win that will last much longer in their memory banks than the loss will stick with the Green.

Afterward, both sides talked about Da Bulls taking it to Da C’s.

Kendrick Perkins said the Bulls were just hungrier.

Kendrick Perkins on the Bulls taking advantage of no KG and Sheed.

Vinny Del Negro said the Bulls caught the Celtics at a good time – for Chicago anyway.

Read More: Bulls, Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, NBA
Doc Rivers on D&C 01.07.10 at 12:24 pm ET
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Celtics coach Doc Rivers made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning. He discussed Wednesday night’s dramatic victory over the Heat in overtime, the case for Rajon Rondo as an All-Star and the issue of guns in the NBA, which was highlighted by the indefinite suspension of Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas.

A transcript of the interview is below. To listen to the complete interview, click here.

Where would last night’s victory rate?

Because of the way it finished it would rate high. Obviously there was a time where I thought we had it. Then it looked like we had lost it, and then we stole it back. Because of all that it ranks pretty high. Especially with all the guys coming back off of injury and still missing guys. There have been so many disruptions with our team right now, to have enough continuity to win a game has been great for all of our guys.

Was last night’s game all about overcoming human nature or giving into human nature?

I think so. They played hard on that last play. They did everything they were supposed to do. I was just happy with our guys, because when we called the timeout, it took me 15 seconds to get them in the huddle because they were so down. Once we drew up the play you could see them come back. They had the focus and just to execute the play and for it to work. Whenever anything works it looks great, because it takes so many moving parts for that stuff to happen. So, I thought we had good focus.

Have you used that play in the past and did it work?

We ran it once, might have been last year or two years ago, and it didn’t work. It worked to the point that Rondo was open and we threw the pass off the mark. It actually went into overtime. We work on that play occasionally, like once every 10 practices. Paul [Pierce] is the only guy that can make the pass, every time we use someone else it’s a bad pass. But it was good that all those guys were there.

What if there is less time than 0.6 seconds? Does it require all 0.6 seconds to get that up?

We’ve done it with 0.4 because it’s just a tap. Even at 0.3 you have a chance. Rondo is usually the best guy to do it, because he’s the guy that no one thinks you are going to do it with. That’s what we try to choose. Ray [Allen] is the other guy, surprisingly, because no one thinks you are going to throw a lob pass to Ray, either. So, it’s usually one of those two guys.

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Read More: Doc Rivers, gilbert arenas, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Garnett
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