Bulls more confident after Celtics dealt Perkins


Bulls more confident after Celtics dealt Perkins

By A.Sherrod Blakely

CHICAGO Former Boston Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine still believes the C's are one of the top teams in the NBA.

But you can throw him into the camp that believes the loss of Perkins has given many teams -- including his current club, the Chicago Bulls -- a boost of confidence that they can do some things against the Celtics that they weren't able to do before Perkins was traded.

"For us, Perkins was an intimidating factor at the rim," Scalabrine told Comcast SportsNet prior to Thursday night's game. "Kevin Garnett and Perkins out there, that's a big deal."

While the Celtics are certainly not the same team since Perkins was traded to Oklahoma City on Feb. 24, it's not like they weren't used to playing without him.

Perkins suffered a torn MCL and PCL in Game Six of the NBA Finals last June. He didn't return to the Celtics lineup until Jan. 25 against Cleveland.

The Celtics traded Perkins, along with Nate Robinson, to Oklahoma City on Feb. 24 for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.

Prior to the trade, Perkins was sidelined with a knee injury that was non-related to the torn MCL and PCL injury he suffered earlier.

He eventually joined the Thunder's lineup, and has been instrumental in them winning 10 of the 13 games he has appeared in this season.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are 13-9 since Green and Krstic joined the team.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, a former Celtics assistant, recognizes how the trade has given the C's added depth. He also points out how even with the moves, the group you see on the floor to end most games isn't all that different now than the group that closed out games when Perkins was around.

However, Thibodeau acknowledges that they are definitely a different team without Perkins.

"He's a very good all-around player for them," Thibodeau said. "He benefited from being around Kevin a lot."

Looking back at the 2008 championship team, Perkins spent most of his time trying to establish position in the post.

Meanwhile, Garnett would be running around the court most games setting screens, and occasionally look to take his man down on the block.

"Kevin has a right to call for the ball every time down the floor," Thibodeau said. "But he never does that. He flies all around setting screens. What that led to, was Perkins ending up doing the same thing. They created a lot of easy offense for their team. And defensively, when you put Perkins and Garnett out there together, it was probably as good as it gets in terms of length, intelligence, pick-and-roll defense, catch-and-shoot defense . . . he was a terrific player. He understood his role."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers can understand why so many fans still pine away at the days in which Perkins wore a Celtics uniform.

That doesn't bother him.

What does irritate him is the perception that the trade made the Celtics a smaller team.

When the Celtics traded Perkins, they did so with the intent being that Shaquille O'Neal would be on the floor relatively soon afterward.

Since the trade, O'Neal has played a total of just six minutes. He's currently out with a right calf strain injury.

"I don't what people expect, honestly," Rivers said. "That part of it, I don't care. But we didn't get smaller. That's the one thing you keep hearing, 'We got smaller.' Actually, we've gotten bigger if Shaq and Jermaine O'Neal play and all of them play. But they haven't played. So how could anyone know."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics made one more roster move on Friday, but not the one many were anticipating.

Instead of trimming the training camp roster down to 15 players, the Celtics expanded it by signing Ryan Kelly.

The 6-foot-11 forward appeared in six games for the Atlanta Hawks during the preseason, averaging 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

A former second round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013, Kelly has appeared in 147 games with career averages of 6.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Boston already has a stacked roster at the power forward/center position, which is why they decided to waive second round pick and former Providence College star Ben Bentil earlier on Friday.

The addition of Kelly, on the surface at least, doesn't make a lot of sense.

But the Celtics are trying to build a team for the present while keeping an eye on the future.

When the Celtics waived Bentil, they did so with the knowledge that he was unlikely to sign with their Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

But with Kelly, the veteran big man will likely wind up with the Red Claws which will allow the Celtics to get a closer look at him without impacting their roster status which is currently at 16, one above the league-maximum.

The final roster spot will come down to James Young and R.J. Hunter. The Celtics have until 5 p.m. Monday to make a decision, a decision that team officials have repeatedly said in recent days will come down to the wire.