Rondo, Perkins play first game against each other


Rondo, Perkins play first game against each other

BOSTON -- As a former starting center, Kendrick Perkins had never practiced against the Celtics starters, let alone played against them.

He got an introduction to the opposing side on Monday night when he returned to Boston for the first time since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder almost a year ago.

Nearly halfway through the first quarter, Perkins faced an unfamiliar task against a very familiar face -- to stop his best friend, Rajon Rondo, on a fast break.

Perkins' attempt to slow Rondo ended in a foul as Rondo ended up on the ground.

I didnt know what to expect, Perkins said following the Thunders 97-88 win. He was coming at me full speed. I was really just trying to wrap him up but he was coming so fast and I just tried to wrap him up but he kind of slipped out of my hands. But it wasnt anything where I was trying to do anything crazy to him. I just couldnt let him score on us (laughs).

After the game, Rondo, who is no stranger to hitting the ground on a fast break, shrugged it off.

It wasnt hard. I just lost my footing and hit my knee on the ground, but other than that it was nothing, he said. Im good, knee pads.

The two friends were happy to be on the same court again. Perkins came to Boston in November for Rondos charity game, but they had not been in different NBA uniforms before.

It was a good feeling, said Rondo. It was good to have him back in the building. They played great and he got the win.

Just as they did countless times over the years, Rondo and Perkins had dinner together on Sunday night. Rondo, playing the role of host, picked up the tab. Just as friends do, Perkins offered to take care of it next time.

We go to Oklahoma in a couple of weeks and its actually my birthday, said Rondo. So Im going to order a lot of bottles (laughs).

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins


Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.