Kendrick Perkins gets to play another day. The league has rescinded Ed Rush’s technical foul called on Perkins late in the second quarter of Game 5.
This means Perkins can play in Game 6 in Boston Friday night. However, if he picks up one more technical foul during the playoffs he will be suspended for the following game.
No explanation of the decision has yet been issued by the league.
Perkins had already picked up a technical foul as part of a double technical issued earlier in the game after some fairly innocent after-the-play jostling between him and Martin Gortat (Perkins was trying to help up a fallen Paul Pierce, his hand slipped off and Gortat got a little elbow). That was questionable.
Then late in the second quarter Perkins got called for a foul and did what he always does — complained loudly about the call. But he did it walking away from the referee and the play, just venting his frustration. Pretty much normal playoff stuff.
And he was T’d up again. That’s two and he was ejected from the game. How much that hurt the Celtics is debatable — Perkins is their best low-post defender but his absence meant more minutes for Rasheed Wallace, who was playing better than Perkins. However, Sheed fouled out, Glenn Davis got a concussion and Doc Rivers could have used another big body.
Because this was Perkins’ seventh technical or flagrant foul of the playoffs, he was to be suspended for the next game — which would have been the crucial Game 6.
The league has balanced those scales, but Perkins remains one technical away from a suspension.
In other news, a hard foul by Paul Pierce in the first quarter was upgraded by the league to a flagrant one.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.