No Perkins, Big Problem

The Big 3: Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. Sorry, I meant to say Big 4, add to the mix the supposed question mark of the Boston Celtics’ 2008 title run, point guard Rajon Rondo. The player people most often fail to be mention however among this elite group of players Kendrick Perkins is the unsung 5 among the star-studded Big 4.

6:30 into game 6 of the NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins landed awkwardly on his left knee and was forced to leave the game. He did not return. Boston went on to lose the game 89-67. One of the big questions after game 6 was the health of Kendrick Perkins. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Perkins was ruled out of game 7 yesterday, which is cause for concern in bean town.

Kendrick Perkins may not be the most flashy player out there. In fact, he is a very limited player. Well, at least on the offensive end. Perkins is consistently left open for short jumpers by opposing teams and time after time he passes up exceptionally good looks. He knows his place on the Celtics, and his place is not a scorer.

Perkins is known around the NBA for his intensity and most notably the look of anger that doesn’t seem to ever go away. Throughout the 2010 NBA playoffs Kendrick Perkins has been asked to face some enourmous challenges. In the Eastern Conference Finals he was asked to guard the taller, longer, more athletic Dwight Howard and for much of that series held him in check. In the NBA Finals he has been asked to guard the also longer, taller Andrew Bynum Bynum has been ineffective through much of the series. Although that is partly due to his injured knee.

Now the Boston Celtics have to deal with life without Kendrick Perkins. People may say that Kevin Garnett is the glue that holds everything together. That may be partially true, but Kendrick Perkins is no slouch. Perkins does not get the recognition that the other stars on the Celtics do, but he still goes out every night and plays his behind off. Without the Celtics 5th man, they will have to rely mostly on Rasheed Wallace and Glen “Big Baby/Shrek” Davis to carry the load at center.

Glen Davis has had his moments during these playoffs but since he and Nate Robinson broke out in Game 4 he has been virtually invisible. Despite having 9 rebounds in game 6, Big Baby didn’t have a single point in 27 minutes. Rasheed Wallace was also held off the scoresheet in game 6 going 0-6 from 3 and 0-7 from the field in 17 minutes.

You wonder if the added minutes for Big Baby are just too much for him to handle. I don’t think that he is mentally bothered by the pressure, but physically it could take a major toll on him. Coming out of LSU Glen Davis has had weight issues, but in the NBA he has gotten it all together. But for a guy like that can you be confident that he can play added minutes? Glen Davis relies on pure energy and hustle to make up for his lack of athletic ability and size compared to other big men. Added minutes means less just a smidgen less energy per play, which means that he probably can’t make up for his physical disadvantages to as great an extent.

Rasheed Wallace on the other hand has been an enigma this entire season for the Celtics. For him, it’s not lack of physical strength or athletic ability it’s more an intensity issue. Wallace is a proven winner but also a guy who decides for himself when he wants to play. Wallace is a guy I would have put money on to have a big game for my team in his younger days. However, now that he is 36 he is not the player he once was. The Boston Celtics obviously can’t rely on him like the Detroit Pistons could in big games.

Almost everyone had counted out the Boston Celtics during the regular season, and almost everyone is now. To me I can’t find a real reason to pick the Celtics to win tonight. Defence is a big part of what defines the Boston Celtics, and Kendrick Perkins is a big part of that defence. It showed last game. The Celtics have shown that never say die attitude throughout the playoffs and it will be there tonight. In the end, I just don’t think it will be enough to handle Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers.

Boston Celtics’ Nate Robinson Securing a Job

Distraction, immature, selfish, attention hog, circus act,. These are just a few of the things that supposedly describe Nate Robinson. However, in the 2010 NBA playoffs, 5 foot 9 Nate Robinson is doing everything within his power to prove his critics wrong.

The Boston Celtics tied up their series with the Lakers at 2 a piece last night after a 96-89 victory. Powered by their bench, most notably Glen “Big Baby” Davis, the Celtics were able to use a 36 point fourth quarter to lock up the win. The big time play from “Big Baby” is not something new to NBA fans. Through the absence of Kevin Garnett last year, Glen Davis stepped up to play a key role in the Celtics attempts at back-to-back championships.

However, Nate Robinson, an even more unlikely candidate, has also emerged in these playoffs to give the Boston Celtics a major lift. Last night Nate Robinson came off the bench going 4-8 from the field for 12 points as well as 2-4 from beyond the arc. Doc Rivers had enough confidence to keep Robinson on the floor late in the fourth quarter. Robinson hit a floater in the lane with 4:16 to go in the final frame.

Nate Robinson was constantly in and out of coach Mike D’Antoni’s dog house while in New York for his sparkling yet selfish and attention grabbing play. It was thought that Robinson cared more about the attention rather than the team winning. It culminated with D’Antoni taking Robinson out of the rotation for 14 straight games. During this period Nate Robinson and his agent had requested a trade out of New York. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, after being on the bench for almost a month, Robinson came back against the Atlanta Hawks with an astounding 41 points of the bench.

Finally, Nate was granted a trade to the Boston Celtics on February 18th. Robinson wasn’t given full opportunity in Boston either though as Rajon Rondo had already emerged as one of the league’s premier point guards. During the season, Robinson was limited to 14.3 minutes a game.

Before game 6 of the Eastern conference finals Nate Robinson had been all but forgotten. But that all changed as Doc Rivers put him in to deliver a spark to the tail-spinning Celtics. Robinson did not fail to deliver. He finished the game with 13 points, all during the second quarter, allowing the Celtics to once again reach the NBA finals.

Right now the basketball world is focused on two things: The NBA finals and where Lebron James is going to land. Not Nate Robinson. There is no way that the only thing on Nate Robinson’s mind right now is the NBA finals. Even though Nate Robinson has been quiet throughout his tenure with the Boston Celtics he has to have wondered if anyone will give him a legitimate shot to play regularly next season. Nate Robinson knows that, right now, he is playing for another contract and doing a darn good job of it.

Nate Robinson has proved to general managers around the league that he can be put the team’s needs before his own. Everyone knows that Robinson doesn’t mind the spotlight and will jack up shots at will. Performing during the regular season is one thing, performing at key points during the NBA finals is a whole other beast. It’s a fact of life that some people just don’t perform well when the pressure is on, but obviously Nate Robinson is not one of those guys. Nate Robinson should feel so grateful that he got this opportunity to play in the NBA playoffs because if not he might have been unemployed next season.

However, all that has changed now. Despite his past problems, I think it is very likely that someone offers him some sort of multi-year deal that will give him the chance to show he can potentially be a starter or at least a solid 6th man in the NBA.

Personally, I love Nate Robinson as a player. He is just so much fun to watch because he has absolutely no conscious, which means he could go off at anytime. Like JR Smith, Nate Robinson is one of those high risk, high reward guys. You just never know what you’re going to get. The bottom line though is that he is going to have his games where he lights up the score sheet, as long as he is given adequate minutes, which is why I would take the risk of signing him. Even during the 14 game benching this past year, he said all the right things. Then, when he wasn’t getting an opportunity in Boston, you didn’t hear a peep out of him. He is not going to be a distraction anymore. On a less important note, if you are more of a bottom feeder team having trouble getting fans out to games, he is going to bring in a certain amount of fans.

How can you not take a chance on a guy who 2 years ago averaged 17 points a game coming off the bench on a bad team? Now that he’s proved he can compete with elite competition in crunch time all I see is a tremendous amount of upside to a truly electric player.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com

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