These playoffs had way too little controversy. Luckily, Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals supplied us with all we’re going to be needing for a while.
In the first quarter, Paul Pierce drove after a perimeter whistle was called. Gortat double fouled him and sent him to the ground. Kendrick Perkins reached down to help Pierce up, with Gortat behind him. Perkins slipped off Pierce’s slick wrist and accidentally elbowed Gortat, who of course thought it was intentional and slapped the ball out of Perkins’ hand. A double technical was assessed.
Okay, one bad T, no big deal.
Then in the second quarter, Perkins started doing his usual act. You’ve seen it. Perkins throwing his hands in he air and screaming, furious over every call. After one call, the Celtics center stormed away from the official, but threw an “air punch” and screamed an obscenity. Technical. That’s two. Good night, Irate.
Those technicals were Perkins’ sixth and seventh, earning a suspension in his next game.
It is very likely that one, if not both technicals will be rescinded, but before everyone gets too bent out of shape about it, a few things to consider. The Celtics lead the league in playoff technicals with 18 techs. 18. That’s a pretty clear pattern that the officials have to be aware of. The other question that needs to be asked is if Eddie F. Rush warned Perkins. If Rush just tagged Perkins with the second technical for no reason, fine, rescind it it was a bad call.
But if he was warned, that would change things. The Celtics tend to dance the line with not only complaining at officials after calls, but embrace a physical, punishing, bullying type of play. That’s going to go your way on nights when the games are called loose. But when they’re called tight, you have to respond.
Finally, there’s being in the heat of the moment, as the NBA guidelines stipulate is allowed for air punches (HT: Trey Kerby), and there’s pushing your luck. These guys are grown men, who are responsible for their emotions. Perkins needs to keep his head and keep playing. His team needs him,especially with the injuries the Celtics sustained tonight. It may have been a bad call, it may have been a bad tech, but it was still within his control to prevent.
Either way, I wouldn’t worry about a suspension if I’m a C’s fan. I’d worry about the Magic and how they’ve rediscovered their offense and intensity. The suspension will get rescinded. The Magic perimeter attack will not.