With Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal both sidelined during last Saturday’s game against the Wizards, the Celtics were forced to rely on Semih Erden and Glen Davis as the entirety of their center rotation. When healthy, Boston is the deepest team in the NBA, and yet for his particular game their frontline had dwindled down to a pair of last resorts.
Both O’Neals are set to miss tonight’s game as well, but the Celtics have an unexpected addition to their center core: Kendrick Perkins, who has missed the entire season to date with a right knee injury, will make his return to the lineup, according to the Celtics’ Twitter feed. Perkins claimed to be about two weeks away from game action as of this past Sunday, yet Doc Rivers is prepared to bring Perk off the bench to play 12-16 minutes in the middle. Whatever magical meal Perkins had for lunch on Monday, I’ll have two of ’em.
Honestly, Perkins should need no introduction. His interior defense has been a huge asset to the Celtics, and his return represents something fairly frightening: a Celtics team even more fearsome and more complete than the one we’ve seen all year. Boston has had their ups and downs, but injuries aside they’re as good — or better — than any team in the league. Add Perkins to that already potent lineup and allow both O’Neals to come off the bench in the process (or start Shaq and brink Perkins off the bench, whatever Rivers fancies) and the Celtics look pretty damn solid inside. The rotations are there, the defensive pressure is there, and now, for the first time all season, the center position is starting to come together as intended. The next step is getting Perkins back into NBA shape and reintegrating both O’Neals, but this is a big day for Boston.
Report: Danny Ferry not expected to supplant Dell Demps as Pelicans GM
Don’t look for Danny Ferry, currently an advisor to the front office, to take over in any shakeup, sources say.
I’m skeptical. Nobody wants to acknowledge an internal coup before it’s executed. Doing so would create a terrible workplace environment until it happens or if it doesn’t.
The Pelicans’ ownership situation makes this a little more tricky. There’s an apparent desire in New Orleans to win quickly for an aging Benson, and that directive has limited Demps’ flexibility.
Still, Demps’ plans have mostly busted. Eventually, he’ll run out of chances to try new ones.
If that happens soon, when the Pelicans search for a replacement, Ferry will be right there with an impressive record building up Atlanta and no stains that make him unhirable to New Orleans. Would the Pelicans, who thought enough of him to hire him once already, really not consider promoting him?
Report: Potential top-10 pick, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, undergoes season-ending knee surgery
Indiana Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby will undergo right knee surgery and miss the rest of the NCAA season, sources told The Vertical.
The 6-foot-8 small forward is a versatile defender. He has grown as a shooter, and there’s hope he could become a 3-and-D player – or, given his athleticism, maybe more.
Anunoby wasn’t in the top tier of prospects in a loaded 2017 NBA draft, but he was headed toward the lottery, maybe even the top 10. How he recovers from this injury will factor significantly into his draft stock now.
On the bright side, this is less opportunity for scouts to pick apart his raw offense (though it’s also less opportunity for Anunoby to develop).
NBA: Mavericks got away with key late foul in win over Bulls
Curry (DAL) clamps the arm of Lopez (CHI) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.
A correct call would’ve put Dallas in the penalty and sent Lopez – who has made 66% of his free throws this season and and 76% for his career – to the line for two attempts.
Instead, not only was Lopez denied his free throws, he committed a frustration foul on Dirk Nowitzki – who grabbed the rebound with help of Curry – moments later. Nowitzki converted one of two free throws.
We’ll never know how the rest of the game would’ve played out after a correct call, but a swing of 1-to-3 points is pretty big in a one-point game.