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Perk: The Straight Shooter

 

If there’s one man in the C’s locker room that you can count on to give you an honest assessment of this team’s performance, it’s Kendrick Perkins. The guy is candid, blunt, and a tough evaluator of himself and his teammates’ play. Just another reason to love the guy, who is gutting it out through some painful tendinitis right now.

So while other members of the C’s roster and Doc Rivers were (rightfully) gripping about the disparity in free throws last night, Perk pulled no such card in his post game reaction. Instead, he delivered the cold truth on his team’s defensive execution in this one:

“Frustrating game, thought we played bad on the defensive end tonight. Guys missed assignments that were suppose to be there, a lot of missed assignments tonight add up to a 6 or 7 point loss. They got to the line whenever, we just fouled, we were late on rotations, so we didn’t play no defense tonight.”

When asked about the free throw disparity, Perk gave credit to The Thunder, rather than complaining about the calls.

“Nah, they were being aggressive. I thought Durant was a crafty player. He’s a scorer in this league, he’s averaging almost 30, he gets to the line, he did what he had to do. Everyone else fed off of him.”

On how his injury has affected him on the floor the past few weeks, again making no excuses:

“You know, a lot of people play with injuries. If I’m out there, I’m out there. A lot of people have bumps and bruises here and there too.”

More from Perk and final thoughts on this contest, after the jump.

On how can team improve it’s fourth quarter defense:

“Like I said, it was just a few missed assignments that hurt us. It was guys that were suppose to be there to help, weren’t there. We weren’t talking on the floor enough, just too worried about scoring rather than the defensive end.”

Man, I love Perk. Like I said folks, that’s a straight shooter right there. The Thunder played a terrific offensive game, but the C’s couldn’t get the stops when they needed to, late. No need to sugarcoat it.

And for the record. Perk sat out the entire fourth quarter. Sheed played a great game for once, so I’m not trying to knock him. However, don’t think Perk’s presence out there wouldn’t have helped on the defensive end. If Sheed’s on, hopefully Doc goes back to offense/defense substitutions down the stretch.

The good news about last night:

*C’s went 41 of 60 from 2 point range to show an astounding 68.3 percent from 2 point range. That’s a terrific number. Perhaps more importantly, 28 of those field goals came in the paint.

All of these numbers are great signs. The C’s offense was attacking and attacking well against a top 10 in the league Thunder defense. We know this team can play D, it’s the offense that has been the bigger consistent problem. Seeing some rhythm last night, was a good sign.

* 17 of 20 shooting in the 2nd quarter. Amazing.

The Bad News:

* This team needs to shoot that well from 2 point range, as they revert into a below average 3 point shooting team (34.4 percent, 18th in league). For a team that relied so much on the 3 ball last year, that number needs to come up when the playoffs arrive for them to have any shot at advancing. Last night, without Paul and Ray hitting (1 of 8 from deep combined) that was one of the differences.

* 8 Turnovers in the 1st quarter last night. That can’t happen. Luckily, C’s cleaned things up afterwards, finishing with 14.

* 61 points in the 1st half. 43 in the 2nd half. C’s really need to figure out a way to fix these 2nd half woes.

* The bench was great, except Marquis and Nate still have no rhythm going offensively. It’s nice that Doc is giving Daniels another chance here, but he once again showed no real aggressiveness last night. I’ll take TA the rest of the way as a better defender and with more potential offensive upside, since well, this team needs it. TA also attacks the offensive glass well, another valuable resource.

All in all, encouraging performance more than anything else. This team is going to have to put up points in the playoffs in order to compete with the big boys. Last night was a positive sign in showing they could do it, even without the help of the 3 ball.

  • DRJ1

    One small point. Perk is a lovable character. But a genius, he is not. If it comes to choosing between KG and Perk in terms of who understands this game better, whose judgment we should trust more… there’s no need to even write the words.

  • Jay P

    @DRJ1

    Completely agree. But KG is emotional, so who knows.

    I also find it really ironic that Perkins would make this comment *Cough* 15 Technicals *Cough*

  • http://perkisabeast.com/blog Carl Spackler

    Thunder: 21 PF’s (Collison fouled out)
    Celtics: 24 PF’s (Pierce had 5)

    The Thunder never should have been scoring into the 90′s, let alone 100′s.

    I MISS JAMES POSEY MORE AND MORE.

    Durant shot .500 from the field, .400 from 3PT and perfect on the line, heck of a job on D-ing him up!

    Also, KG is 10 years older than Perk, so yeah he should know the game better than him.

    When KG “helped off of Jeff Green” who was there? NO ONE.

  • stephen

    DRJ1 — You know–What’s with this comparing Perk to KG rather then just giving Perk credit for trying to give an honest assessment the way he sees it. It sounds to me like you are riding KG’s viewpoint that the refs cost the C’s the game which will do nothing for the C’s unless they use that anger to motivate and move ahead. Maybe Perkins is actually setting an example here — In other words–He’s tired of all the excuses from his teammates, whatever they are. It’s now either put up or shut up. Anything short of that —- Well, how’s that going to help us in the playoffs.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Has anyone watched James Posey this season?

  • Jay P

    @stephen

    Good point, you’re right, it doesn’t really matter the excuses, Refs, injuries, chemistry. Whatever.

    It’s go time now, put up or shut up.

  • Jay P

    @Zach

    Yes. Let me edit Carl’s post so it makes more sense:

    “I MISS 2008 JAMES POSEY MORE AND MORE”

    Much better.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Yes, the refs made some bad calls, but here is the deal. On 12/4/09 the Durantula had 36 points, but the Cs played FANTASTIC D & the Cs held OK to 87 points. Last night the Durantula had 37 points

    ****1 point more****

    than in Dec’s 4ths 18 point Celtic win.

    Look at Westbrook’s shot chart …..ALL of his made shots, except ONE, were in or within 1 step of the paint. We basically held the Durantula to the same amount of scoring 36 vs 37 points, but completely dropped the ball on the rest of the Thundies.

    I’m concerned because usually the Cs say it’s not about the other team, it’s about us. For them not to acknowledge & take ownership of their mistakes, their sucky D, is a really bad sign. I don’t like the focus on the Durantula. Instead of hearing about his 37 points, I would much rather hear about the 72 points the rest of the Thundies scored on the nba’s toughest??? D in their own home building.

    I still think we should totally revamp the Garden. It’s much too comfy for the Cs. We need to make the Garden appear like an opposing team’s place so we might get the much more fearsome & competitive away Cs. Charlotte was a place we dominated. We need to make the Garden look like the Bobkitten’s arena. All we need is someone to kidnap their mascot (he probably won’t be missed for a couple of weeks) & get a MJ look alike to show up. They should play different music, change the cheer leaders, even boo the Cs initially to make them think they are on the road. Then, after they are playing that tougher road D, we can start cheering.

    Perk talking about guys more worried about their offense is spot on. The cheers are not quite as loud for great D as they are for a dunk or wicked pass or a 3 etc. There has been a change in focus on this team from shut down D…. from I want to be on the NBA all defensive 1st team to I want to be on Sportscenter.

  • DRJ1

    @Jay P– Lol to your coughing fit !

    @Steph– I think KG’s disgust/anger will translate to extreme motivation in the playoffs. We heard it from Paul too, earlier. These guys are friggin SICK to death of reading about how old they are, how beat up, etc. They beat those OKC kids fair n square… and I think they’re gonna demolish teams in the playoffs — health allowing. That outburst from KG was the first of its kind, ever. I thought immediately that it was very significant. These guys have had it.

    That’s how I read the situation, anyway.

  • KOD

    No one complains about the officiating more vocifereously than Perk (with the possible exception of Sheed) when he’s on the court, so I find his locker room introspection hilarious. Even as an admittedly biased Celts fan, Perks incessant whining to the refs over even the most obvious calls often annoys even me.

    Somewhat ironic that in what was most likely the worst officiated game of the season against the Celtics, that Perk of all people would absolve the refs of any wrongdoing. Classic!

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    @KOD: Good point re: Perk’s on-court complaining. Fair.

  • stephen

    DRJ1 — We will find out, but not when the playoffs start— But in the next game against Houston–The time for the C’s to put the hammer down is ”Now” and then ride that anger and motivation in to the playoffs–Then we have something!!!!

  • DRJ1

    @KOD– point right on the money. It is hilarious. Perk’s a character, in a team full of them. That’s kinda what makes them so lovable.

  • Ray Leighton

    Not sure this means anything, but although Perk and Sheed have dramatically decreased their technicals during the season (I find this hard to believe but apparently Sheed did not get a T during the month of March), the rest of the team’s Ts have gone up. KG had more Ts this month than he has had in all but one month since he became a Celtic. Given that KG is not known for technicals or for aggressive complaints to the refs (he has in the past often gone a couple of months without getting a T), I’m starting to believe that we have been getting some truly bad officiating recently (I’m still in disbelieve that the refs missed a blatant foul on the guy without the ball on a two-on-one against Utah). But Cptn Bubbles is right — the team still has to play through that and play better defense. The other team’s PG, or anyone else, cannot be getting uncontested layups.

    Interesting stat regarding drawing charges — the C’s are second in the league at total defensive plays (blocks, steals, charges) per possession (only OKC is better), but we are tied for 4th _worst_ in drawing charges. Think of how great an already-good defense would be if we were just more willing to get in the way.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @ Ray. I’ve talked about it some a little while back, but you are right about charges. I’ve only seen 2 Cs actively take charges this year. I cannot remember Rondo taking any charges all season (he probably has 1 somewhere). Think about that a second. Rondo is super quick & has great anticipation, but I guess he doesn’t want the bruises. The ONE place you don’t want opposing point guards is in the lane wreaking havoc. It just shreds the D to pieces. When the scouting report comes down, opposing point guards (really everybody on the opposition) is licking their chops thinking we should drive the lane hard because these guys don’t know how or refuse to draw charges (& they don’t give hard fouls, what’s not to like?).

    Imagine if we would have just kept Westbrook out of the lane……or….DW……or…..Collison….or…Ginobli…………..

  • Ray Leighton

    @Cptn — so I had to punish myself and look up the numbers on charges. Ironically, our next opponent has a guy in the top-10 at all five positions. The Rockets are not shy about giving up their bodies. As you said, we’ve got just two guys who take charges, Paul and Glen. But here’s some funny items:

    1) TA takes more charges than anyone other than Paul and Glen. Those are not adjusted stats, those are per game, so if TA had more minutes….

    2) Rondo doesn’t even make the top-40 among PGs playing more than 15 minutes. And so where do the league’s other elite PGs fit? Both Steve Nash and Chris Paul are in the top-10 among PGs for drawing charges, and Deron Williams is 15th. The fact that Steve Nash, as old as he is, is still among the league leaders in drawing charges, says something about how competitive the guy is.

    The weird thing about this to me is that it isn’t like Rondo is afraid to wind up on the floor; he seems to hit it pretty hard at least a couple of times a game when he is the one doing the penetrating.

    3) Nate was among the top-10 PGs in drawing charges when he was with the Knicks. Not anymore.

    4) Perk was dead last among starting centers in this category. He averages one every 25 games…

  • http://www.celticshub.com Brian Robb

    Lots of good comments guys, but I must say I’m surprised by some of the Perk anti-sentiment here. While all of the criticisms of him made are valid, they really don’t come into play with any of his comments.

    Perk isn’t a genius, but he doesn’t need to be to know this team’s defensive schemes inside out.

    He also does complain about the refs too much on the floor. However, he has been better recently and wasn’t absolving these Thunder game refs, just giving credit where credit was due.

    The C’s are becoming one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to fouling (25th). The numbers don’t lie and this team would be best served to think like Perk and take a long look in the mirror when it comes to their fouling ways, since it could be their undoing this month.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    @Brian Exactly. The Cs have got to look beyond bad refs & ask themselves what THEY could do better. They can’t change the refs. They CAN change how much film they watch, their stance, how much they use their hands vs their feet, how fast they rotate, how fast they get back, how they choke up the paint & enforce a no layup rule, how much they switch, how much they talk on D, how much pressure they put on the ball (many times there is ZERO pressure on the ball making passes to the Durantula or Lebron or Melo very easy….. many times people don’t even have their hands up or smother the ball if the guy picks up his dribble) etc.

    I’m not saying that there are not some bad refs, but you can’t have a defeatist attitude & give up. You have to be EXTREMELY MENTALLY TOUGH in the nba to go all the way. The absolute best players play their hardest when things are dark & gloomy. It’s like a force of wills out there.

    The Cs are capable of doing great things. Holding the Thundies to 87 points the first game was this team at its best. The Durantula got his points in that game, but the Cs choked out everyone else. I think the Cs know how empty & depressing it feels to see your offense fail miserably—see last Griz home game. It just takes away your will & energy to fight if you let it. When the Cs play that uber D, which we have seen at various times throughout the year, it is such a force & frustrates the other team’s offense so bad that it sucks the life out of them. The other team just gives up like the Cs did vs the Griz. You see it all the time in basketball where a great defense just frustrates & drains the life out of another team. I’d say the majority of the nba teams who get frustrated on offense will subsequently play more poorly on the defensive end (perhaps they are still thinking about their offense & therefore not focused on D).

    I think in order to be a successful defender you need to have as many weapons/counters in your arsenal as possible. Drawing charges or the threat of drawing charges can slow down a gung ho, all out attack of the lane. I don’t expect Perk to draw charges because he is tall & long enough to block or frustrate the shot, but you gotta hope your backcourt & at least 1 of your forwards can draw charges. Taking charges is a weapon to strike back against very aggressive teams, but you have to be able to think/plan ahead, get your feet set, & have the right form (no leaning/reaching in, fall backwards etc).

    Again, we’ve seen the Cs really frustrate teams when they are playing that fantastic, high energy D. I could see the Cs going far if that D got better. I don’t see the Cs going very far if they just try to run & gun or out shoot other teams.

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