BOSTON -- As a former starting center, Kendrick Perkins had never practiced against the Celtics starters, let alone played against them.
He got an introduction to the opposing side on Monday night when he returned to Boston for the first time since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder almost a year ago.
Nearly halfway through the first quarter, Perkins faced an unfamiliar task against a very familiar face -- to stop his best friend, Rajon Rondo, on a fast break.
Perkins' attempt to slow Rondo ended in a foul as Rondo ended up on the ground.
I didnt know what to expect, Perkins said following the Thunders 97-88 win. He was coming at me full speed. I was really just trying to wrap him up but he was coming so fast and I just tried to wrap him up but he kind of slipped out of my hands. But it wasnt anything where I was trying to do anything crazy to him. I just couldnt let him score on us (laughs).
After the game, Rondo, who is no stranger to hitting the ground on a fast break, shrugged it off.
It wasnt hard. I just lost my footing and hit my knee on the ground, but other than that it was nothing, he said. Im good, knee pads.
The two friends were happy to be on the same court again. Perkins came to Boston in November for Rondos charity game, but they had not been in different NBA uniforms before.
It was a good feeling, said Rondo. It was good to have him back in the building. They played great and he got the win.
Just as they did countless times over the years, Rondo and Perkins had dinner together on Sunday night. Rondo, playing the role of host, picked up the tab. Just as friends do, Perkins offered to take care of it next time.
We go to Oklahoma in a couple of weeks and its actually my birthday, said Rondo. So Im going to order a lot of bottles (laughs).