Perkins reflects on playing, friendship with Rondo

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Perkins reflects on playing, friendship with Rondo

CAMBRIDGE -- Kendrick Perkins glanced over at Rajon Rondo as he addressed a pack of reporters following his charity game on Saturday night at Harvard University.

Rondo held court wearing a pair of thick black glasses, a gray jacket, and fitted t-shirt. Perkins, dressed in a white zip-up hoodie and blue thermal shirt, smiled and laughed.

That's nice, he grinned. You see them glasses he's got on today? That's him. He's so fly.

Best friends Rondo and Perkins took the court together for charity, the closest they have come to playing basketball together in Boston since Perkins was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in February.

The impact Perkins absence had on Rondo was widely discussed last season. Nine months after the move, Perkins reflected on how playing without Rondo affected him as well.

You never know how many easy baskets you can get dealing with a guy like him, Perkins said of Rondo. And just also the chemistry that me and him have together and just being the other two outside of the Big Three (Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen), and how close we got.

It's definitely hard, but at the same time we both talked on the phone after the trade and I told him what's done is done. We've just got to go out there and we've both got jobs to do. It's not going to affect how we interact or how we feel about each other. We've just got jobs to do.

The big man who plays with his emotions realizes basketball is a business -- I never was mad at Danny (Ainge), I never was mad at Wyc (Grousbeck) for trading me. I was just happy that I was able to be here for nine years, he said. And with the birth of his second son, Kingston, just five weeks ago, he has an extra mouth to feed regardless of who he is playing with.

Perkins and Rondo have mulled the idea of heading overseas together if the NBA lockout continues. But even if they dont get to suit up as teammates again, Perkins is confident in their relationship that goes beyond basketball.

Rondo brings out my humble side, he said. I think he always keeps me stable, never lets me get too high or too low. We call each other a lot. We talk almost every day. We talk about a lot of different situations. Anything going on on his mind, he calls me. Anything going on on my mind, I'm going to call him. So that's the type of relationship we've got.

Celtics move into No. 1 spot in East as Cavs get crushed by Spurs

Celtics move into No. 1 spot in East as Cavs get crushed by Spurs

SAN ANTONIO -- The Cavaliers acknowledged having heavy legs, yet there is something far weightier on the minds of the defending NBA champions.

Cleveland is in the midst of one of its worst stretches this season and there is little time to fix it.

Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cavs 103-74 on Monday night in a much-anticipated showdown that turned into a major letdown for Cleveland.

"The way we've been struggling, (the Spurs are) the last team that you want to play," said LeBron James, who was fine after taking an elbow to the neck. "A well-oiled machine like this, they exploit everything that you're not doing well at that point in time of the season and right now we're not playing good basketball."

James, who finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes, said he will play Thursday at Chicago.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Cavaliers have nine games remaining, all against teams in the East, including a visit to Boston on April 5.

James said the standings "always matter," but playing more consistently is far more important and he refused to blame injuries or an arduous schedule for the team's troubles.

"It matters more that we're playing better basketball than where we're at," he said. "If that results in us having the No. 1 seed, the No. 2 seed, 3 or whatever the hell it is, we need to play better basketball. That's what it comes down to."

What Cleveland is seeking, the Spurs have already found.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home game against the Warriors on Wednesday.

The Spurs have won five straight and 8 of 10 after sweeping the season series with the Cavaliers.

"It was a big game, but in the end, it's just one game, and one win," San Antonio guard Tony Parker said. "We're trying to be consistent. We're trying to play the same way every game. It was definitely surprising. Coming off a loss, I thought they would play with a lot more energy, but it can happen. It's a long season. It's just one game and I'm sure they're going to bounce back and use this game as motivation."

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs.

San Antonio led by as many as 33 to the delight of the sold-out crowd, and the Spurs' bench outscored the Cavaliers' reserves 49-24.

"We did a good job coming out early and then keeping our foot on the pedal," Leonard said.

Cleveland, which was already without injured Iman Shumpert, received more bad news Monday morning when it was announced that Kyle Korver will miss at least two more games with a sore left foot.

"You lose Korver and Shumpert off your bench and things tend to change," Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. "With those two guys out, we tried some different things and it didn't work. It was not on the bench. It was on me."

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than rest them, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of the Cav's second lopsided loss in the past two weeks.

Lue said he has considered resting his stars over the team's final nine games, which James is not in favor of.

"Coach is going to have his logic of things, but we need to play," he said.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt. He remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench.

James left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout, but said afterward he is fine.

EXTRA SHOOTING

Irving returned to the court for about 15 minutes following the loss to work on his jump shot. The star guard had eight points and two assists in 26 minutes. He finished 4 for 13 from the field and missed his two 3-point attempts.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers . . . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points . . . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding opponents under 100 points per game for the 22nd straight season . . . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots . . . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Bertrand: Raptors a 'scary team' in the Eastern Conference

Mike Felger and Marc Bertrand talk about the Celtics clinching the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference and other potential threats for the C's.