Celtics need Perkins to score vs. Heat


Celtics need Perkins to score vs. Heat

By A.Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON Kendrick Perkins understands that one of the reasons why the Boston Celtics have been so successful in recent years is because all the players, himself included, have accepted very defined roles.

But when injuries come about, roles change, and in the case of Perkins, they even expand.

That certainly was the case on Sunday as the Celtics needed Perkins to do more than just rebound and defend.

They needed him to score.

And Perkins didn't disappoint, scoring a season-high 15 points in helping the Celtics escape with an 85-82 win over the Miami Heat.

"We told Perk that he had to be a great rover and finisher (against the Heat)," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "Because they do a great job of showing with their bigs. I told him, 'just trust the pass. it will be there.' "

Perkins had added motivation with the Celtics having lost three of their last four games, and in need of a win over Miami to stay atop the Eastern Conference standings.

As far as his game, Perkins came into it knowing that he would get opportunities to score.

"We know they're a great help team (defensively)," Perkins said. "They trap hard on the pick-and-roll, so we felt like if you set a good pick on those guys, get guys open, the guy who sets the pick is usually open."

In addition to his scoring, Perkins was also instrumental in the Celtics' defense keeping the Heat from having their way around the basket.

"Every night, Perk's good defensively," Rivers said. "I don't have to worry about that."

Perkins was also aided by some impressive shooting from the free throw line.

Shooting a career-low 48 percent from the line this season, Perkins made all seven of his free throw attempts.

Even more impressive than the free throws and the point total, was the fact that he played 31 minutes.

Perkins, who returned ahead of schedule last month following surgery to repair a torn MCL and PCL injury suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June, has played at least 30 minutes in each of the Celtics' last five games.

"I'm all right," Perkins said. "Luckily we got a few days in between games right now. I'm just making sure I get my rest, coming in and getting treatments, stuff like that. Obviously I'm a little sore all over the place. But at the end of the day, I'm just happy to be back on the court. Being happy to be out there is just overpowering everything else."

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

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

Ainge: Winning more important than All-Star bids

BOSTON -- When it comes to NBA awards and accolades, players in contention often try to play it cool when asked about whether they are deserving.
And then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, who gives a definitive response whenever the question about whether he should be an All-Star starter is raised.
We’ll find out later today if Thomas will in fact be named as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team when the East and West starters are announced. 
“It’s a little bit refreshing in that he is open about it,” Danny Ainge said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show this morning. “But every player wants to be acknowledged by their fan base, by other players in the league, coaches. You come into the league and as a young player you want to earn the respect of your peers and then you want to get paid and then you want to be an All-Star; maybe that’s the wrong order; and then nothing more important than winning.
Ainge added, “Isaiah is having a great year. He’s talked a lot about it. At some point in his career, he’ll talk about the most important thing and that’s winning championships.”
Ainge pointed to when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all Celtics, there was no mistaking that winning came before anything else.
But where those guys were in their careers in terms of individual achievements and just age, were major factors in their focus being so deeply rooted in winning.
“Along the way they all want to win, but when you get to the point where Paul, Ray and KG were in their 30s, they didn’t care about any of that other stuff because they had it all, already,” Ainge said. “They had multiple All-Star games, they had big contracts, winning became the only thing that mattered.”
In other Celtics-related news, Ainge said that there’s no timetable for when Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will return to the floor. He has missed five of the last six games with the injury which includes last night’s loss to the New York Knicks which was a game in which the 6-foot-2 Bradley was a last-minute scratch from the lineup