Perkins: 'There was a lot of crying'


Perkins: 'There was a lot of crying'

By A.Sherrod Blakely

DENVER As the Boston Celtics boarded their team bus to Denver's Pepsi Arena, Kendrick Perkins found himself in an unfamiliar role as a spectator.

This is what happens when you're part of a trade on a game night.

"It's tough man; real tough," Perkins said in a phone interview with shortly after he was shipped off to Oklahoma City along with Nate Robinson.

Perkins has never been one to keep his emotions bottled up.

When he's angry, you knew it by the scowl or the mean-muggin' face that he would make.

When he was happy, there was a smile that came around a lot more than people realize.

And then there was Thursday afternoon, a day of sadness unlike anything Perkins had ever experienced.

"There was a lot of crying, lot of hugging going on," said Perkins. "And a lot of it was me."

Kevin Garnett usually has a somber-like demeanor, win or lose.

But following Thursday's 89-75 loss to Denver, it was clear that Garnett, much like the rest of the Celtics, were still trying to make sense out of the trade that landed them Jeff Green (a former Celtics draft pick) and Nenad Krstic.

"It's not even about a teammate. It felt like you lost a family member today," Garnett said. "Tough day."

The trade really puts to the test just how much these players believe in their head coach, Doc Rivers, and Danny Ainge, the team's president of basketball operations.

"The only thing is, you hope that Danny and Doc know what they're doing," Pierce said. "We trust in them. It is what it is. We can't use any excuses, cry over spilled milk. Hopefully the guys we have coming in here and understand what we're trying to do, is championship goals."

Even before tip-off, it was clear that things were different -- and not in a good way for the Celtics.

The C's locker room is usually a boisterous place with various forms of music blasting through earphones.

On Thursday, the room was dominated by the sound of silence; the kind of silence you expect at a wake or funeral.

As they tried to come to grips with the reality that Perkins was gone, he was back at the hotel, wishing he could play with his "brothers" one more time.

"I miss them," Perkins said. "I ain't gonna lie. I'm gonna miss the hell out of them. It's going to be hard leaving them behind, leaving this team behind and the fans and this city. But this is a business, and being traded is part of that business."

He joins an Oklahoma City team that has a pair of All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

But what has been missing in the Thunder's quest to be a title contender, is a physical enforcer-type who does a lot of the dirty work and does it well.

Enter Kendrick Perkins.

"That is one of the good things about all this," he said. "I'm going to a good team, a young team, but a good team. And from what I've been told, they wanted me pretty bad. That's always a good feeling, to be wanted."

The Celtics certainly wanted to keep him long term when they offered him a four-year contract extension worth about 22 million.

Perkins will likely play well enough to earn a much higher salary, which was among the reasons why he turned down the C's offer.

Even though Perkins and the Celtics were unable to come to terms on a contract extension, he is quick to say he has no ill will towards the organization or any of his teammates.

"Like I said earlier, I love this team and I love those fellas," Perkins said. "I'm playing for another team now, but I'm always going to pull for them when I see them play. We're brothers. That's never going to change."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

Bradley steps up to lead Celtics to 117-87 blowout win over Magic

It was one of Tacoma, Washington’s finest carrying the scoring load most of Wednesday night for the Boston Celtics. 
But it wasn’t the Celtics’ leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
It was his backcourt mate and fellow Tacoma, Wash. native Avery Bradley picking up the slack in Thomas’ absence as Boston pulled away in the second half for a 117-87 blowout win over the Orlando Magic. 
Wednesday’s victory was Boston’s first in Orlando since Nov. 8, 2013. 
Bradley led seven double-figure scorers for Boston (13-9), with a team-high 23 points.
Thomas missed his first game of the season with a right groin injury that will sideline him for a yet-to-be-determined period of time. 
The 5-foot-9 guard ranks among the NBA’s leaders in scoring (26.0) in addition to leading the Celtics in assists (6.2) per game. 
But Bradley was up to the challenge of filling the void left by Thomas, which isn’t all that surprising when you consider the game was away from the TD Garden. 
Bradley has been good this year, but has really stood out in road games where he has averaged 19.0 points on 51.4 percent shooting from the field compared to 15.8 points on 41.3 percent shooting at the TD Garden. 
The first half was a tightly contested game with neither team leading by more than eight points. 
After Orlando scored the first basket of the third quarter, the Celtics went on a furious 18-2 run to lead 67-54 which had five different scorers for Boston that spoke volumes about the balanced offensive attack the Celtics came with to make up for Thomas’ absence. 
Boston’s defense picked up its intensity in the second half, but just as important was the renewed emphasis on ball movement that was simple, crisp and highly effective. 
And it came against an Orlando team that came in having won four of its last five games – all on the road – which included beating the always-challenging San Antonio Spurs on their home floor. 
But as important as it was for Bradley to help fill the enormous scoring void that exists without Thomas, Boston also needed a strong game from their bench. 
That’s exactly what they got, and it wasn’t just one or two guys, either. 
Jaylen Brown had arguably the best game of his still-young NBA career coming off the Celtics bench, finishing with 13 points which included a powerful, rim-rattling dunk over Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic
Boston also got great play out of Terry Rozier (career-high 16 points, five rebounds) who saw a few more minutes than usual because of Thomas’ injury. 
Not only was the victory important to pad the win total, but it also provides a nice boost of confidence for the Celtics as they hit what will be arguably the most difficult stretch of the season in terms of quality opponents. 
The Celtics have 12 games remaining this month, with the teams having a combined record of 152-105, or a winning percentage of .591.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics-Magic close at the half

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics-Magic close at the half

Playing without Isaiah Thomas for the first time this season, the Boston Celtics managed to keep the game relatively close with Orlando and went into the half trailing 50-49.
Orlando led for the entire first quarter, only for the Celtics to go ahead 28-27 behind a dunk by Jaylen Brown just 47 seconds into the second quarter. 
Neither team led by more than five points for the rest of the half. 
The Celtics were playing without Thomas (right groin) who leads the team in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season. 
Replacing him in the starting lineup was Marcus Smart who has five previous starts this season, but each came at the small forward position while Wednesday’s start came at the point.
One of the big concerns the Celtics had coming in was how they would hold their own against the Magic’s beefy, physical frontline that includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic. 
At the half, the Celtics were in a 19-all tie on the boards and actually had a 10-7 advantage in second-chance points.
Here are the Stars, Studs and duds from the first half of Wednesday’s game.

D.J. Augustin

The Magic point guard got hot at the end of the second quarter, finishing the half with a pair of 3’s that were part of a 15-point first half.
Avery Bradley

With no Thomas, there was need for Bradley to step up and deliver more offensively. He led the Celtics with 12 first-half points on 4-for-8 shooting.

Evan Fournier

His shot-making at the start of the game was a big key for the Magic, finishing with 10 first-half points (all in the first quarter) to go with four assists.
Marcus Smart

He’s not going to score like Isaiah Thomas, but Smart can knock down open looks when they come his way. He had nine points in first half on 3-for-4 shooting.


Boston 3-point shooting

The Celtics were brutal from 3-point range in the first half, missing 13 of their 14 3-point attempts. Making matter worst, Orlando was a near-perfect 8-for-10 from 3-point range.