Ryan DeGama covered the early returns of Kendrick Perkins’ return to the floor last week. And after yesterday’s performance, I can’t help but point out just how encouraged I was by the big man’s performance, especially on the offensive end. Let’s take a quick look at his complete numbers.
30 minutes, 15 points (4-8 shooting), 7/9 at FT line, 6 rebounds (2 offensive), 4 turnovers, team high +11
I’m not going to waste too much time talking about Perk’s value on the defensive end. At this juncture, we all know how valuable he is there, especially his mobility and trapping skills on the perimeter which was outstanding overall yesterday.
Instead, the number that stood out to me is not only the number of times Perk got to the free throw line, but the fact he actually hit his first seven attempts. His career high for free throw attempts in 11, so coming up with nine, just three weeks into his return, in a game as pivotal as yesterday, speaks volume to me. Zach Lowe use to rave about how valuable it was for Perk to get the line during C’s wins, and that kind of analysis held true yesterday on a day the C’s desperately needed the offense. With the team also struggling to get to the line consistently all year (ranking in bottom third in free throw rate) help from anyone in this department is big.
Many forget that before Perk began to battle tendinitis last year in his knee, he really was a semi-reliable option within the offense in first two months of the season. He was keeping the ball up and finishing relatively quick (for him) around the basket before he regressed into bad habits. Yesterday he was better in this area and Kevin Garnett had an interesting observation about why after the game:
“I thought Perk took his time tonight,” said Garnett. “A lot of times when he gets into trouble is when he rushes or when he goes too fast. We look for him. We just tell him to catch the ball and go up aggressive. We encourage him to score. You have to understand, with this team you have multiple guys that can do a lot of different things and when Perk is scoring it’s one more scorer, but more than anything it’s another threat that the opposite team has to pay attention to.”
Then there was this from Rondo, courtesy of ESPNBoston.com and Greg Payne’s terrific piece:
“[Perkins] played great,” Rondo said afterward. “He’s always been very efficient, high of 50 [percent], high of 60 [percent] shooting the ball. He played big for us. He got some rebounds, he [contested shots]. Perk is back.”
With the team likely to be shorthanded up front for the foreseeable future, Perk is going to play 30 minutes a game whether Doc likes it or not. The defense and rebounding have always been there, but if the offense continues to come back, it makes this team that much more dangerous heading down the home stretch of the season.