8.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 55.7 % from the floor, 50 % from the line, according to Basketball Reference. Perk had averaged double-digits points per game in each prior month of the season (excluding October, when Boston played just three games).
Perk hasn’t had rebounding numbers this low since last January, when he averaged 6.5 points and 5.7 boards per game, according to BR. Perk’s game went through a similar Jan-Feb decline last season before he picked things up in March and sustained his improved play the rest of the way.
Of course, he did that with Kevin Garnett out. The team needed him to score and rebound more in KG’s absence, and Perk (largely) came through.
The idea this season was that Perk’s game had developed enough to permanently take some of the burden off of KG on both ends of the floor.
Can he still do it?
Some caveats here: Perk works his butt off, and we all love him for it. He remains a defensive player first, and he has been more or less solid on that end all season. Also, the winter months are the dog days of the NBA. Players talk about it all the time, especially vets on good teams. The excitement about starting a new season has passed, and the playoffs seem far in the distance. Most obviously, Perk’s minutes in February dropped to about 25 per game, down from nearly 32 in January and 28-29 for the prior two months.
And Perk is not some sort of magic elixir for this team. There’s no hard evidence that he’s the X-Factor, that the team suddenly starts playing .800 ball when Perk is at his best.
The team is 23-10 (.697) this season when Perk scores 10 or more points in a game. That is indeed better than the team’s overall winning percentage (.632).
The team is 44-19 (.698) over the last two seasons in games in which Perk hits double-figures. That is almost exactly on par with the team’s overall winning percentage for 2009 and the first 57 games of this season (.705)
If you add in rebounds, nothing much changes.
Those records may not be any better than the C’s overall mark during those spans, but one thing you don’t see when you search based on the above Perk criteria is any stretch in which the C’s went, say, 13-16. When Perk is contributing at a decent level, the team has generally played as well as it should play.
And he has not contributed at his normal decent level over the last 16 games dating to Jan. 25th against the Clips. In his defense, the C’s have played a lot of those games against some of the league’s elite defenses (five games combined against Orlando, the Lakers and Cleveland) and against elite big men (the above-mentioned five games plus two against Brook Lopez, and one each against David Lee, Nene, Al Horford and Chris Kaman).
So Perk has been dealing with difficult match-ups since late January—and dealing with those match-ups during the what many players consider the worst part of the season.
But still: If the C’s are going to do anything of note in the post-season, Perk is going to have to deal with Shaq, Dwight Howard and Al Horford.
We need Perk to get back to being the Beast that he is, and he’s shown that he can turn it on once winter turns to spring, even against the league’s best big man (Howard).
I’m curious: What, if anything, have you guys noticed about Perk’s game in the last month that might explain the dip in productivity? Or do you think it’s just a case of the Beast’s reduced minutes?