Boston Celtics: 2010Game44
But wait, aren't these Celtics supposed to be an "old" team? The fact that three 30-something, past-their-prime, future Hall of Famers are posting their best shooting numbers ever -- with a fourth practically accomplishing the same feat -- is certainly a testament to the offensive system that coach Doc Rivers has employed. It's a system predicated on ball movement, swinging the ball until it winds up in the hands of an open player.
"Well they're open," Rivers said of why his players are shooting so well. "I know that sounds simple, but I just think our guys take open shots, and they pass contested shots, and they trust each other. Shaq said it earlier in the year -- this team, if you're open, they pass it to you. If you're not open, they pass it to someone else, and if you're not open, you should pass it, and I think that's the way we play."
After returning to the court Tuesday night for the first time since tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins phoned into ESPN's First Take Wednesday morning to discuss the moment. Perkins admitted it's going to take some time to get back into game shape, but he didn't hesitate to say the team is better with him back on the floor.
"Defensively, we're a lot better," said Perkins. "Offensively, we get better as far as execution; Guys have been playing together for three or four years now -- the starting 5 -- and we know each other. We know each other's weaknesses and we know each other's strengths. That should help a lot."
Perkins also opines on teammate Shaquille O'Neal, including his desire to put Jenny Craig out of business with his "Shaq O'Meals" weight-loss plan.
Click HERE to watch the interview.
Rapid Reaction | Game Recap | Box Score
--FORSBERG: PERKINS BACK IN THE MIDDLE--
Even as he stepped onto the floor to a rousing ovation from the TD Garden faithful, Kendrick Perkins wasn't back. Even after he muscled in an and-1 layup a minute later, his first points of the season after spending the past six months rehabbing from offseason ACL surgery, Perkins wasn't quite back. No, it wasn't until he stood in front of the Boston bench fuming at referee Scott Twardoski, displaying his familiar scowl while barking about the lack of an over-the-back call on a putback by J.J. Hickson early in the third quarter that Perkins was officially back. "He almost ran after the guy that one time," Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers recalled. "And I was thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me. Perk's back.' When he did it, the whole bench started laughing, saying, 'Perk's back.'"
--POSTGAME NOTES: PIERCE STARTS STRONG, ANKLE SLOWS FINISH--
Celtics captain Paul Pierce erupted for 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter of Tuesday's win before tweaking his ankle near the end of the third period. He retreated to the locker room with more than three minutes remaining in the game. "I just tweaked it a little bit, that's why I came back early, to get a little treatment," Pierce said. "I don't think it was anything serious. I should be fine."
--DAILY DIME: WITH PERKINS, C'S FEEL WHOLE AGAIN--
Less than a minute after stepping back onto the floor for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Kendrick Perkins took an inside feed from Ray Allen, burrowed into two defenders in the lane, and completed an and-1 layup that nearly blew the roof off the TD Garden. As Perkins emphatically stomped around the perimeter, congratulating every other member of a reunited starting five, Allen took a minute to savor what was happening as Perkins' return brought the Boston Celtics one monster step closer to being whole again since letting a world title slip away last season.
--PIERCE SHINES EARLY, TWEAKS ANKLE LATE--
Celtics captain Paul Pierce erupted for 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter of Tuesday's win before tweaking his ankle near the end of the third period. He retreated to the locker room with more than three minutes remaining in the game.
"I just tweaked it a little bit, that's why I came back early, to get a little treatment," Pierce said. "I don't think it was anything serious. I should be fine."
Pierce departed the arena without a noticeable limp. After his first-quarter exploits, an early night could be forgiven. Pierce connected on six of his first eight shots, staking Boston to an eight-point, first-quarter lead. He had all 24 points before intermission, finishing 8-of-15 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and a steal over 23:58.
"I think he thought we were practicing tomorrow," Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked. "It’s called the 'veteran injury.' They know how to get hurt late because they think it excuses them from practice the next day. So he’s fine.”
Kidding aside, Pierce put together another dominant first quarter, this after scoring 13 points in the first frame of a win over Utah on Friday.
"That’s who Paul is," Rivers said. "What, did he score more points than he played minutes tonight? And that’s with blowing three layups in the third quarter."
Added Pierce: "It's something I've been trying to do over the last two or three weeks, come out aggressive from the jump and just try to get us off to a quick start. It's something I've been focusing on."
The fact that Cleveland's Joey Graham pushed Pierce's buttons in the first quarter didn't hurt either. After the players jawed early, Pierce responded by scoring Boston's final 13 points of the period.
Pierce let his play do the talking as he walked away from a group of reporters with a big smile when asked about his words with Graham.
--DANIELS MISSES FIRST GAME; EXPECTED BACK THURSDAY--
Rivers said before Tuesday's game that Daniels would likely rejoin the team in time for Thursday's road-trip opening tilt against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Daniels sent a Tweet Tuesday asking his followers for game suggestions for his iPad, writing that he was at a hospital, "bored but family is important."
Von Wafer logged a hefty 21:35 of action, getting an uptick in time due to both the lopsided win and Daniels' absence. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting (hitting a pair of 3-pointers) as Boston put seven players in double figures, including three reserves.
--LOOSE BALLS: TECHS, CHARGES AND WAVES--
* Technical tracker: Glen Davis picked up his fourth technical foul of the season for complaining to officials late in the second quarter.
* ChargeWatch: Davis offset his outburst by picking up charge No. 37 on the season, absorbing contact from J.J. Hickson. Semih Erden also stepped in front of the Hickson locomotive for his second charge of the season, while Pierce picked up his fifth charge of the season (tying him with Jermaine O'Neal and Nate Robinson for second place on the team, well behind Davis).
* Double-double in one quarter: Lost in another Cleveland drubbing was the fact that Hickson put up a monster third quarter, registering 10 points (on 5-of-6 shooting) and 11 rebounds in the frame. Alas, it was all for naught. The Celtics and Cavaliers both scored 24 points in the quarter.
* Wave goodbye: With the Celtics up 21 with nine minutes to go, the Garden faithful amused themselves by starting the Wave (much to the delight of Shaquille O'Neal).
* Gino Time!: While the JumboTron operators could have done it at the six-minute timeout of the fourth quarter without fear, everyone's favorite scoreboard dancer didn't appear until there was 2:56 remaining with Boston out front, 108-91. Perkins joined Shaq and Kevin Garnett to laugh their way through the American Bandstand clip.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON
Celtics captain Paul Pierce scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter, while Ray Allen scored 15 of his 18 points in the middle frames as Boston breezed to a lopsided victory that extended Cleveland's losing streak to 18 games. Seven Boston players landed in double figures, but it was the return of center Kendrick Perkins (7 points, 6 rebounds over 17:10) that highlighted an otherwise nondescript night. J.J. Hickson paced the Cavaliers with 12 points and 17 rebounds (much of which came in a third quarter in which he produced 10 points and 11 rebounds).
The Celtics held a comfortable 10-point cushion midway through the second quarter, then embarked on a 10-0 run over a mere three-minute span, capped by back-to-back trifectas by Allen for a 56-36 cushion that put the game on cruise control.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Celtics shot 50 percent from the field (42 of 84), including a blistering 45.8 percent from beyond the arc (11 of 24).
Rajon Rondo must have drawn the short straw as he logged a team-high 43 minutes, chipping in 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting with 10 assists and five rebounds. He hit the only 3-pointer he attempted.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics have won their last six games at home as they prepare to embark on a four-game road trip that will have them battle the Trail Blazers, Suns, Lakers and Kings starting Thursday night in Portland. Despite playing with only 10 players, the Celtics seemed energized by Perkins' return and turned this one into the laugher it should have been, no small task considering their struggles in Washington on Saturday.
Perkins, who replaced rookie Semih Erden with 8:02 to play, motioned to the crowd as he lined up on the baseline for a free throw attempt. Less than a minute later, Perkins took an inside feed from Ray Allen and completed a layup while getting fouled. He missed the free throw.
Perkins, wearing a black brace over his right knee and showing some rust, checked out with 2:37 to play in the first quarter, logging a little over five minutes in his first shift of the night.
BOSTON -- Six months removed from ACL surgery, Celtics center Kendrick Perkins will return to action Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Asked if he's concerned about his return, Perkins said he's only worried about his conditioning. The knee?
"No, I'm not worried," Perkins said with a smile. "It's been tested in practice plenty of times."
Rivers said after Monday’s practice that Perkins had asked to return for Tuesday’s game, but he dismissed the idea because he thought there was no way he could return that soon.
When team trainer Eddie Lacerte and team physician Brian McKeon walked into Rivers’ office after the session, he knew he was about to get some good news.
“The doctors walked in said they thought he should play,” said Rivers. “I don’t mind changing my mind.”
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