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Kendrick Perkins, NBA officials and how you know ‘Perk’s back’ for real 01.26.11 at 2:21 pm ET
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Memo to Kendrick Perkins: While you were gone from the NBA – impressively rehabbing your right knee – the league decided to give more power to the referees that officiate NBA games.

During their annual meeting last fall in Jersey City, N.J., the league’s officials, in conjunction with the league, announced new guidelines for technical fouls, including T’ing up any and all “overt” player reactions to calls.

Just because we’re here to help, here’s what NBA officials are on the lookout for in determining whether a player should be “T’d” up:

- Running directly at an official to complain about a call.

- Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.

- Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.

- Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.

This season, refs have also been instructed to consider technicals on players who use body language to question or demonstrate displeasure. Additionally, officials can also consider techs on players who “take the long path to the official,” i.e., walking across the court to make their case.

So, what would a return to NBA game action be without Perk testing out those new limits?

He did just that in the first half when he was called for a personal foul and raised his arms and scowled that trademark “Perk Scowl”. But apparently, he mellowed during physical therapy. He stopped short of getting a tech. Last season, Perk was called for seven technicals in the playoffs alone, but the second one in Game 5 against the Magic in the Eastern Conference finals was rescinded by the league, thus he avoided suspension.

If a player accumulates 16 in a regular season, he draws an automatic one-game suspension. Perk has a long way to go to approach that.

‘€œHe’€™s going to get a tech soon,” coach Doc Rivers smiled and laughed after Tuesday’s win over Cleveland. “Yeah, we’ll see I think because he started so late he can’€™t get to the number. So I think we’€™re safe there because at the end of the day Perk’€™s going to be Perk. I mean, he almost ran after the guy the one time. And I was thinking, ‘€˜You’€™ve got to be kidding me. Perk’€™s back.’€™ That’€™s the whole bench; when he did it the bench started laughing, saying ‘€˜Perk’€™s back.’€™ I’€™m thinking we have a cushion.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins, NBA
Doc Rivers and Paul Pierce know this West Coast trip is big at 10:15 am ET
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Every year, Doc Rivers takes a look at the schedule and he has the chance – along with the team – to petition the league for a change or two. And without fail, it always seems the Celtics try to get part of their two West Coast trips altered to help with rest on the road.

Last summer, he took one look at late January and thought to himself the first trip out West will be a real bear. They start Thursday in Portland, playing one day later – and one time zone backward – in Phoenix. Then they play an afternoon game 36 hours later back in LA against the Lakers before wrapping up next Wednesday in Sacramento.

Sure, they’re bonding experiences for the team but a little more time bonding and a little more rest would certainly be appreciated.

“I don’t really look forward to them but I know they’re coming,” Rivers said. “It’ll be a good one for us, tough teams, all tough in their buildings. The only thing I don’t like about this trip is the travel in games so quickly. Traveling to Portland and playing a game the next day is brutal.

“And then you fly backwards to Phoenix where you lose an hour and then you play LA in a one o’clock game. That’s a lot of games. We get our schedules before the season starts, before [public] gets them. We have a chance to change games. This is one trip we actually really tried to get changed. We just wanted another day. They said, ‘No.’”

Last season when the Celtics went out West in February to play the Kings, Lakers and Trail Blazers, they swept all three games before losing at Denver in the finale. Now, starting Thursday at the Rose Garden in Portland, they will play those three teams again with a trip to Phoenix thrown in as the second game of the four-game swing. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers, NBA, NBA West Coast road trip
Ray Allen: ‘We’ve been less than ourselves’ without Kendrick Perkins 01.25.11 at 11:49 pm ET
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Following Kendrick Perkins‘ early return to the Celtics lineup, just about everybody was asked about the team’s 26-year-old center, and Ray Allen — dressed in a Shaft-like leather jacket and a sweater that went up to his nose — was no different.

“We’ve kind of been less than ourselves over the last three or fourth months, just waiting,” said Allen of Perkins’ absence this season. “We’ve had great success with the guys we’ve been using, but we haven’t had the lineup that’s been consistent here over the last three and a half years, when we’ve been successful and won some big games, including the championship. So, it’s great to see him back out on the floor, and it just makes us that much stronger.”

The vibe in the Celtics locker room felt different after the team disposed of the Cavaliers, 112-95, and it’s because, like Jerry Maguire, Perkins completes them.

“When he went down, obviously eyes around the world were on him,” added Allen. “Everybody felt a little sympathy for us, because we weren’t whole. Him coming back has a great symbolism to it, because we know what we’re trying to get back to.”

Perkins’ return was a reminder of how close the Celtics came to winning another NBA title last season before he went down with his ACL injury in Game 6 of the finals, especially considering his six rebounds in 17 minutes on Tuesday night.

And before the C’s get back to where they want to go, they’ll have another reminder of that Game 7 loss when they visit the Staples Center for the first time since to take on the Lakers on Sunday afternoon. But Allen’s blocking that from his memory.

“I’d like that to sneak up on me,” he said, “and just not think about it.”

Read More: Boston Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, NBA, Ray Allen
A sleepless Kendrick Perkins wakes up some echoes at the Garden at 11:22 pm ET
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Kendrick Perkins was the happiest person in the Garden on Tuesday night as he made a successful return to game action in 16 minutes of the Celtics‘ 112-95 romp over the Cavaliers. Perkins came in with 8:02 left in the first quarter to replace Semih Erden and played his first five minutes of the season.

Perkins – who had reconstructive ACL surgery on his right knee – scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds in his first game since injuring the knee in Game 6 of the NBA finals last June.

“I’ve got to play a few more games first. I surprised myself on a few plays today, just finishing, a couple rebounds, it felt real good,” he said. “I know I can do better, I could do more. I was mad at myself, I didn’t block any shots today. I was little winded and little off-key. I’ll get better.”

Perkins also admitted he was very tired after the game since he didn’t sleep on Monday night because he was so excited. He spent a good portion of the night in Waltham at the team’s practice facility.

“I didn’t sleep [Monday] night,” Perkins added. “I actually left the gym [Tuesday] morning about 1 o’clock and went to the gym [Monday] night at 10 so that’s probably why I’m tired right now.”

He certainly got the wake-up call when Doc Rivers called out “Perk!” after Semih Erden picked up two fouls in the first four minutes Tuesday.

‘€œI thought he was terrific,” Rivers said. “I thought as the game went on his timing got better. I thought defensively he was terrific from the start. Just communication, we were loud again defensively which was nice. You could hear him and Kevin [Garnett] barking orders defensively and that makes us really good.’€

Rivers is not expecting to throw Perk back into the starting lineup just because he felt good running up and down the court – and especially not against the likes of the Trail Blazers, Suns and Lakers.

‘€œIt’€™s the same, about the same amount of minutes,” Rivers said, referring to the 16 he played Tuesday. “He actually probably played one or two more minutes than we anticipated. He wanted to stay in. But I think that’€™ll be it for a while, between 16 and 18 minutes.’€

But the best compliment Rivers paid Perk was about his work ethic, the one trait that explains his remarkable return – like Wes Welker – just seven months after blowing out his ACL.

“That was awesome,” Rivers said of the 20-second standing ovation as Perkins made his way to the scorer’s table for the first time. “Listen, there’€™s people in the crowd that work hard every day, blue collar, and Perk identifies with all those people. If you are a guy that works 9-5, you’€™ve got to love Perk because that’€™s who he is.’€

And no, there were no references to feet by Perk in his post-game address to reporters. Well, at least he’s off on the right foot.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Doc Rivers, Kendrick Perkins
Fast Break: Perkins, Celtics hand Cavs 18th straight loss at 9:55 pm ET
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In his first action since Game 6 of the 2010 NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins came off the bench to a standing ovation and contributed seven points and six rebounds in just over 17 minutes during a 112-95 blowout of the Cavaliers Tuesday night in Boston.

The Celtics (34-10) projected Perkins would play 12-15 minutes in his return, but he exceeded expectations all night. Of course, it helped that the C’s were playing Cleveland (8-37), losers of 18 straight.

Paul Pierce netted 24 points in just 23:58 on the floor. Shortly after coming down awkwardly on a shot attempt and moving gingerly on his right leg up and down the floor a few times, he exited the game with 5:30 remaining in the third quarter.

Ray Allen knocked down a trio of 3-pointers to close the game to 20 between he and Reggie Miller for the NBA’s all-time 3-point record.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Perk’s return: Even in a rusty 15 minutes a night, Perkins makes a huge difference in the Celtics lineup — especially with both Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal sidelined with leg injuries and the team in desperate need of big bodies.

Just under four minutes into the game, with starter Semih Erden picking up his second foul in the first 3:58, the Celtics turned to Perkins. And 35 seconds later, after a standing ovation, Perkins proved himself, converting a layup plus the foul. He ran the floor and hit the boards hard on both ends of the floor — a cruel reminder of what might have been had he played Game 7 of the finals last season.

Pierce starts fierce: Playing the entire first quarter, Pierce knocked down 6-of-8 shots to score 17 of the team’s 34 points in the opening 12 minutes. During that span, he also exchanged words with Cleveland’s Joey Graham, whoever that is.

The Celtics captain scored 24 points by halftime and left the game midway through the third quarter. He stayed on the bench for the rest of the game, without treatment, so there should be little concern about his slight limp before his exit.

The bench showed up: Given his recent struggles, the Celtics had to be pleased to see Nate Robinson knock down 3-of-8 3-point attempts. He led the charge, as the C’s got at least seven points from all five available guys off the bench (including Perkins). Glen Davis (11 points) and Von Wafer (10) also reached double figures.

Their collective performance allowed Doc Rivers to rest Pierce, Allen (25:16) and Kevin Garnett (17:45) — although, in somewhat of a strange move, Rajon Rondo played almost 44 minutes.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Slow start on defense: Allowing the worst team in the league to score 26 first-quarter points and shoot 53 percent from the field for the opening 12 minutes isn’t what the Celtics were looking for when they welcomed the Cavaliers to town.

Cleveland actually owned a 23-21 lead late in the first quarter. It took a 21-5 that stretched into the middle of the second quarter for the Celtics to take control.

‘Big Baby’ not a happy camper: When Glen Davis picked up his second foul with seven minutes to play in the half, he let his frustration be known as he returned to the bench. After he was whistled for a third personal a few minutes later, the referees heard it from louder this time — as he picked up a technical, too.

Not much: When the game is in control from the early portion of the second quarter on, and the Celtics cruised to victory, it’d be nitpicking to find too much wrong with their effort … other than Pierce’s rendition of Enrique Iglesias‘ “I Like It” on the Jumbotron. Then again, Enrique Iglesias’ version isn’t much better.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Kendrick Perkins, NBA
Welcome back, Kendrick Perkins at 8:06 pm ET
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After missing the first 43 games of the season rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee, Kendrick Perkins took the court for the first time with his Celtics teammates on Tuesday night as they played the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Perkins injured the knee in the first half of Game 6 of the 2010 NBA finals in Los Angeles as the Celtics – without their starting center and defensive, shot-blocking presence in the low post – lost Games 6 and 7, falling just short of a record-18th NBA title.

Three different players – Shaquille O’Neal, Jermaine O’Neal and Semih Erden – have started at center this season and while Perkins is coming off the bench, his return Tuesday certainly bolsters the depth at that position.

Shaq had started 17 straight and 33 overall before injuring his right hip on Friday against the Jazz. Erden has started the last two and now six overall. Jermaine O’Neal has started the remaining five times in the low post.

Doc Rivers would not commit to when Perk will eventually return to the starting lineup and until then, it’s likely to be Erden getting most of the minutes.

Perkins returned to game action with 8:02 left in the first quarter when Erden picked up two quick fouls. He lasted until 2:37 left, giving him five minutes, 25 seconds of continuous action. He collected a lay-up, missed a free throw, grabbed a rebound, dished out two assists and picked up a foul.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Jermaine O'Neal, Kendrick Perkins, NBA
Irish Coffee: Celtics succeed one possession at a time at 1:58 pm ET
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Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

 

Over the weekend, I stumbled across a New York Times article that claimed Derrick Rose is a better defender than Rajon Rondo, based on the individual statistical analysis of points allowed per possession:

Rose has allowed just 0.77 points per possession overall on defense this season, an elite mark for any defender, regardless of position. Chris Paul (0.86 points per possession allowed), Rajon Rondo (0.83 PPP allowed), and Russell Westbrook (0.92 PPP allowed) ‘€“- all excellent defenders -’€“ have been trumped statistically this year, and by no slim margin. Rose has each of those players handily beat, and boasts a shockingly comprehensive defensive profile.

My natural reaction: How do I get my hands on these points per possession (PPP) statistics? It turns out Synergy Sports Technology tracks every possession — offensively and defensively – for every NBA player. On both sides of the ball, a team or player’s possessions are broken down into 11 categories: 1. isolations, 2. pick-and-rolls (ball-handler), 3. post-ups, 4. pick-and-rolls (roll man), 5. spot-ups, 6. off screens, 7. handoffs, 8. cuts, 9. offensive rebounds, 10. transitions and 11. all other plays.

Obviously, a player’s PPP offensively doesn’t account for the quality of the pass he’s receiving or the look he’s getting, but it’s a great tool to determine how well he’s performing overall and on which plays he’s succeeding.

Likewise, a player’s PPP allowed defensively doesn’t account for the quality of his help defense or who he’s defending, but it’s an accurate representation of whether or not he’s stopping his assignment as well as on what plays he’s being beaten.

Let’s first break down how efficient the Celtics have been offensively as a team; the first number is where they rank in the league in terms of PPP, and the percentage reflects how often they run each play:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Celtics, NBA, Paul Pierce, PPP
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