The rundown (a quick look at the postgame headlines)
Doc's Opinion: Perkins was a 'human pick machine'
For Kendrick Perkins, his statistics are down across the board recently. His league-leading field goal percentage has slipped to 60.9 percent after topping out at more than three percent higher a couple months back. In March, he's averaging three points and two rebounds less than his season averages.
But there's one stat that's practically unquantifiable. Let's dub it POPS (Points off Perk's Screens) and Boston thrived off that statistic Friday night as Perkins delivered some crunching screens to spring shooters like Ray Allen and Paul Pierce off curls. Pierce and Allen combined to connect on 12-of-19 attempts for 33 points.
"Perk doesn’t get a lot of credit tonight, but I thought this was one of his best games in a long time because of the picks," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I mean, he was a human pick machine tonight, just flying around, got guys open, and they got the points and Perk got a pick. You don’t get an assist for a pick, but if you did, he probably would’ve led the team in assists tonight.”
Beyond the screens, Perkins produced one of his finest outings in a while, connecting on 4-of-6 shots for 10 points with seven rebounds, an assists, and a block over 23 minutes.
Rivers noted that Perkins was just one of a handful of guys that seemed to play with a greater sense of urgency after Wednesday's loss to the Grizzlies.
"You know, we got our butts kicked the other night," said Rivers. "So, I thought everybody had a sense of urgency, and you could see that, on both ends. But listen, like I told them... one game doesn’t fix anything. But it’s good that they know what they can do. I know that. But it was good to see.”
KG & Pierce: Guests on the 'Doc Rivers Show'
Before Friday's game, Rivers suggested he'd be open to sitting Pierce and Kevin Garnett if it meant getting them more practice time and allowing them torecover during the remaining games before the postseason.
It was an idea met with hesitation from the principle parties. But Garnett being someone who previously stated he'd run through a wall if Rivers asked him to, Garnett acknowledged he'd oblige with his coach's wishes.
“I’m not really feeling that idea, but, hey this is the 'Doc Rivers Show' and we are just guests on it," said Garnett. "So whatever he feels is best. You know, Paul and I, I think I speak for both of us, we don’t really feel that. But practice does make everything better. You get to clean up a lot of different things. We're not ones that like to miss games and he threw that idea at us, but we’ll see. He gives us a lot of rope around here, Doc’s really good at the dialogue and speaking with us, he only asks that we are honest with him. So I don’t suspect that to be continuous, but for the most part, it's about having a rhythm and playing well going into the latter months.”
As for Friday's game, Pierce pointed to pride as one of the main reasons for the turnaround from Wednesday's mauling at the hands of the Grizzlies.
“Just our intensity, our aggression on both ends of the court," said Pierce. "We really had a heart to heart [Friday] morning. To tell you the truth, [Wednesday's loss] really left a bad taste in our mouths, the way we played last game. Nobody wants to be booed at home by their home crowd -- seeing everybody leave early. That really sat with me that night to be honest. I think it sat with everybody. [Friday] we just came in, talked to each other, we just played like a team that was on a mission tonight and hopefully it can carry over for the rest of the season.”
* Nate Robinson spilled off the bench and drilled a quartet of 3-pointers during his first shift, finishing with 15 points (all off trifectas) to highlight a 54-point outburst by Boston's seven-man reserve unit (every player reached the scoring ledger for the Green). After a couple of quiet nights, it was a welcome scoring burst off the pine.
"Every night is different," said Robinson. "You just gotta take the good with the bad, I guess, and tonight [the bench] was on. I hit the open ones they gave me and hopefully I can continue to make them throughout the rest of the season."
Said Rivers: "Listen, when Nate and the second unit play like that, the tone of the game changes. We’ve just got to keep him aggressive. He tends to not be at times, and that was one of the things the coaches in New York said, that you’d be surprised with that. You look at him, you think he’s this ball of energy. And he pulls himself back, for whatever reason. They haven’t figured out, I haven’t either, yet. I hope I can. That would be nice.”
* The Celtics hosted their third annual "Seats for Soldiers" event, with 600 tickets donated by fans and distributed to troops and their families. Military personnel were honored during the first timeout with Garnett and Rasheed Wallace thanking them for their service in a taped message on the JumboTron. The game was also simulcast in Iraq and a military base in Wisconsin.
“We are proud to honor the brave men and women of the US Armed forces through our 'Seats for Soldiers' program,” said Celtics president Rich Gotham. “Our fans have shown amazing generosity the last few years in donating their tickets to these courageous individuals who defend our country."
* In our pregame notes, Rivers noted that there was no personnel changes in store for the Celtics, Marquis Daniels said he's feeling fine after banging his right hip against Memphis, and Brian Scalabrine ended up inactive for the third straight game.