BOSTON -- As Kendrick Perkins settled into the visitors' locker room at TD Garden on Sunday, Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach James Posey -- a teammate of Perkins' on the Boston Celtics' 2007-08 title team -- came over to remind him that, "We’re on the other side now."
Perkins chuckled and acknowledged that there are virtually no familiar faces across the hall ("You're looking over there to see, but you can’t really go over there and dap nobody up," lamented Perkins). The Celtics traded away the last of the 2008 team when they dealt Perkins' good friend Rajon Rondo to Dallas in mid-December, and only a couple assistant coaches and a handful of support staff members remain from that title squad.
But that doesn't stop Perkins from keeping an eye on his old team (and, potentially, Cleveland's first-round playoff opponent).
"I’m actually proud of them," said Perkins. "They battled through a whole lot of adversity, as far as just, you lose Rondo, you don’t know what to expect, but they kept pushing. They’ve got some nice young guys who come in and play hard every night, making big plays. The way Avery Bradley’s been playing this whole season, he’s been playing really well. A lot of guys have been stepping up for them. And they’ve been playing good basketball. You can tell they are sharing the ball well, they love playing with each other, and have a chance to make the playoffs, so I’m actually proud of them."
Added Perkins: "They’ve been playing really well, especially the second part of the season after the All-Star break. They got a lot of guys that are playing with a lot of confidence and they’ve been doing a great job, so we knew what to expect. We don’t take them for granted. We know that they are a team capable of beating any team in the league, so we don’t take them for granted at all."
With Sunday's lopsided win, the Celtics rolled their famous "Gino Time" clip at the final buzzer and Perkins was asked what it was like to be on the opposite side of Boston's signature clip that ran so often during that 2008 season.
"It was different," said Perkins. "I was looking forward to seeing [Gino] though -- it had been a while. It was good just to be back; its always good to be back in Boston. The fans are great, organization is great; always a good feeling to be back."
Words with LeBron?
Evan Turner and LeBron James chatted for a moment after Sunday's game. Hot on the heels of joking that he "threw away my LeBron poster in high school" after Friday's win in Cleveland, did Turner talk any trash to James? Not quite.
"I was talking to Iman Shumpert, we went to middle school together, then LeBron came over to me, because I’m [an Ohio State] Buckeye, and I told him, 'I know a little guy who can beat his [10-year-old son LeBron James Jr.]' He asked me who, and I said Andre Iguodala Jr. We just laughed about that. It wasn’t anything crazy or anything like that."
Asked for a scouting report on Iguodala Jr., Turner added; "He’s pretty tall, too. He’s only like 7 and he’s up to here (pointing at his chest). He can actually shoot, but he can’t dribble to save his life."
Celtics don't need his help
Cavaliers first-year coach David Blatt elected to rest four of Cleveland's key players in James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and JR Smith. A reporter jokingly asked Blatt, a Massachusetts native, if he was trying to help out the local squad.
"Absolutely not," Blatt said with a smile. "The Celtics are doing pretty good on their own. They don’t need a Framingham guy [to help]."