I tried really hard. I tried really hard to not be biased during What If Wednesday’s. I wanted to make sure to bring up situations that were about the league and had nothing to do with my hometown Celtics.
I lasted one week.
This one is too hard to ignore though. It was so important, so crucial, and so heartbreaking on the NBA’s biggest stage. The Celtics had just come off an two emotional filled wins at home to turn the series on it’s head, and only had to take one of two in Los Angeles. They were so emotional, they gave us this moment:
(What a moment.)
The 2010 Celtics were arguably better than the 2008 Celtics. The big reasons why were Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins. In 2008 Rondo and Perkins were serviceable young guys who sometimes gave way to guys like Sam Cassell, P.J. Brown, and even Eddie House in bigger moments. When it came to 2010 however, they were in the same breath as Pierce, Allen and Garnett.
In the Lakers series in particular, Perkins was a huge factor. With the Lakers overall size(Bynum and Gasol), and Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams as the only other true big men on the roster, Perk had a ton of responsibility. Through five games, he was living up to that. After running into a hot Pao/Andrew combo in games 1 and 2, Perk held them to average of 17.3 points combined. Yes that’s right, the Laker big men who both averaged 33 points a game combined were averaging half of that coming in. As game 6 started, the Lakers were trying hard to push to their men inside. Pao was struggling to work around the more physical Perk, and Bynum once again was in foul trouble. Early on, the Celtics looked like they were headed for another title. Then it happened.
Although I didn’t want to admit it, right then and there I knew it was over. The Celts had no other way to out rebound the Lakers, and had no other way to defend the twin towers. The Lakers ran away with game 6, and then won game 7 by out rebounding the Celtics 53-40, including 23-8 on the offensive glass. So what is Perk didn’t get injured? Would the Celtics have won game 6? Would the Lakers have won anyway?
I don’t think the Celtics win game 6. They ddefinitely win game 7 though. Perk would have been in there for most of that fourth quarter, when the Lakers chipped away at the Celtics lead. Gasol wouldn’t have gotten all the entry passes he did, and Bynum doesn’t get all of those tips over a helpless Shelden Williams. Even ten years from now, I think these Celtics will look back and know one got away. While it’s not Perkins fault, it because he wasn’t available for the biggest game of the year.
Until next time, here is your NBA YouTube clip. I’m going to drink a bunch of whiskey now. (By the way, I was at that game. Only in Boston does a role player get a return that gives fans chills. Okay, I’m done now.)