Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
"He almost ran after the guy that one time," Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers recalled. "And I was thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me. Perk's back.' When he did it, the whole bench started laughing, saying, 'Perk's back.'
"He's going to get a tech soon. I think because he started so late he can't get to the [technical foul limit]. So I think we're safe there because at the end of the day Perk's going to be Perk."
Perkins admitted after the game he was actually gunning for a technical. The seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, the six rebounds and the three assists over 17 minutes, 10 seconds of action were all nice. But Perkins knew getting T'd up, especially in a lopsided game that saw the Celtics emerge with a 112-95 triumph over the Cleveland Cavaliers, would serve as the unofficial welcome mat for the 2010-11 campaign.
"I was trying to get a tech to show everybody I was back," Perkins said. "But it's cool."
A technical foul (and an illegal screen) was the only thing missing from Perk's stat line.
What Perk delivered last night – 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists – is just about all we need from him. Sure, he was a bit slow on some defensive rotations and failed to block a shot, but those will improve as his timing improves.
Another benefit to Perk's return? His teammates were motivated… against a lesser team:
“One good thing that I thought bringing Perk back would help us tonight because (his teammates) were excited,” Rivers said. “Before the game, I kind of welcomed him back to the team. You could see it. They were very, very excited.”
There was reason for concern that the Celtics would lack excitement against the NBA’s worst team. Five of the C’s 10 losses have come against sub-.500 teams, including a defeat by the Cavs in the second game of the season.
There was some concern as Cleveland hung tough in the 1st quarter, but their hot jump shooting cooled off rather quickly. This Cavs team is in the midst of an epic stretch. I can't help but feel bad for them. I'm also embarrassed that I picked them to finish as the 8th seed in the East.
On Page 2, no worries about Pierce's tweaked ankle.
"I just tweaked it a little bit, that's why I came back early, to get a little treatment," Pierce said. "I don't think it was anything serious. I should be fine."
Pierce departed the arena without a noticeable limp. After his first-quarter exploits, an early night could be forgiven. Pierce connected on six of his first eight shots, staking Boston to an eight-point, first-quarter lead. He had all 24 points before intermission, finishing 8-of-15 shooting with four rebounds, two assists and a steal over 23:58.
"I think he thought we were practicing tomorrow," Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked. "It’s called the 'veteran injury.' They know how to get hurt late because they think it excuses them from practice the next day. So he’s fine.”
Sounds like Paul will be fine.
I couldn't find any mention of why Doc played Rajon Rondo 43 minutes in a laugher. Everyone else was kept to under 30 minutes. Rajon has been plagued by nagging leg injuries (hammy, ankle, feet) all season long. He can use the rest as much as Ray and KG.
The rest of the links:
Herald – Kendrick Perkins feels the love | Captain exits early to treat ankle | Cs deal Cavs 18th straight loss | Globe – Celtics attitude hardly cavalier | Perked up Celtics enjoy center's return | New force at work (Bob Ryan) | Reserves not afraid to mix it up | CSNNE – Celtics maintain focus vs lesser opponent | Beyond the arc: Kendrick Perkins | Doc happy to have Perk back | Celtics roll over Cavs | WEEI – Daniels likely back vs Portland | Ray: We've been less than ourselves w/o Perk |