Beyond the Arc: Kendrick Perkins


Beyond the Arc: Kendrick Perkins

By Jessica Camerato

Kendrick Perkins had been itching to get back on the court for months, and he finally made his season debut Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. As he edged closer and closer, his teammates anxiously awaited for his return from knee surgery. They shared with what they have missed about their big man and what they most looked forward to playing alongside him.

Rajon Rondo has spent his entire career playing alongside Perkins. The close friends have developed their games together, and Rondo enjoys having the familiar face on the court with him.

I miss his communication on the pick-and-roll defense, really, Rondo told I think hes one of the best bigs, especially with pick-and-roll defense. When the guard comes off, Perk has a great wingspan and smothers the guards to get their shot off. I miss a lot of stuff about him, but thats kind of what sticks out to me.

Hes one of the best pick-setters as well. Like I said, just pick-and-roll D. The game is all pick and roll basically now, and when you have a big behind you like that, that makes your job a lot easier.

Shaquille ONeal was forced to enjoy Perkins return from the bench as he was sidelined with a sore right leg on Tuesday. The Celtics frontline has taken a bruising this season, between injuries to Perkins, Shaq, Jermaine ONeal, and Semih Erden, and ONeal is happy to have another big man in the paint.

I look forward to just having another physical body out there, he said. I know our frontline is going to be hard for teams to match up against, so were just looking forward to another big body to have out there, another veteran out there . . . I know hes a good guy. I know hes a hard worker. Coming from Texas, thats how they are.

Ray Allen doesnt mind when Perkins gets hard-headed. In fact, he is pleased to see his teammate be so steadfast about the fundamentals of basketball. And when hes on the court with an other intense Celtic, Allen is consistently taken aback by their chemistry.

Perk has a stubbornness about playing defense the right way, Allen said. Hes the one guy that hes so stubborn about locking his guy down that hes going in there and getting the job done. Hes going to get mad at you if you dont help him out defensively, if he goes and puts his hard work and somebody else gets a rebound or somebody else scores or somebodys matching his energy. You see guys in the league that get mad because somebody didnt pass him the ball; you see guys that get mad because somebody missed a shot. Perk gets mad on the defensive end and hes probably one of the few guys that gets that way.

He added, I know that with Kevin Garnett, those two guys they have such a rapport with each other defensively, they always know and they always have each others back. People talk about offense, but they havent seen chemistry like that with anybody defensively ever between big guys. You always know that were going get the rebound or were going to block out or were going to get a blocked shot.

Marquis Daniels is a defensive-minded player who appreciates when his teammates put forth the same effort. He is impressed by the little things Perkins does to help the Celtics get a win.

I like his intensity on the floor, defensively, and hearing him talking, Daniels said. An extra big body always helps . . . Its a good thing to have. He does a lot of the dirty work and doesnt mind doing it. On offense, he sets good solid screens and gets guys open.

Glen Davis, like Daniels, missed Perkins defensive tenacity this season. But it goes beyond that for Davis, who has been playing with Perkins since his rookie season.

He brings a lot as far as defense to our team, and thats what we need, Davis said. Just him as a person, in general, also. Hes an intelligent teammate, always looks out and tries to give you advice. When youve played with a guy for so long and you dont have him, you understand how much he means to your team. His personality, the way he approaches the game, he helps you. And thats what its about - helping, and thats what he does.

Luke Harangody is surrounded by veteran All-Stars and future Hall of Famers as a rookie on the Celtics. He watches this teammates intently during games, and has learned even more by watching Perkins work to get back into the action.

I can say hes taught me work ethic, said Harangody. Watching him come back from his injury is interesting to see how hard he works. Coming in late night, coming in during the day, its motivating. Its huge for me to see that because a season like this, Ive learned you could easily fall into a little lull, saying I dont need to get shots up today. I dont need to get in the weight room. But on this team, you do as much as possible because thats the way its been set for the last three years.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”