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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 7: Is losing Kendrick Perkins that big a deal?

Jun 17, 2010, 11:55 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Perkins_hurt.jpgThey’re done for, right? Boston’s defense without Kendrick Perkins in the middle — that’s a donut. A donut the Lakers are eying like Homer Simpson. Right?

Not exactly.

If the Lakers could roll out a healthy Andrew Bynum then yes, no Perkins would likely mean a dunk fest. But Bynum is dragging around his own bum leg, and the Celtics have stopped fearing him on offense. Perkins had been helping off Bynum to Pau Gasol or any Laker driving the lane.

Bynum may now be matched up on a smaller defender to start the game, but he can’t really exploit that.

Gasol, on the other hand, is the one people see going off without Perkins pushing him around. But that’s not necessarily true. I watched all of Gasol’s shots after Perkins went out in Game 6 and — once you remove all the easy transition and offensive rebound buckets — he was 3 for 9 shooting.

He had a nice turnaround over Rasheed Wallace, and had a beautiful left-handed hook over Kevin Garnett at one point. But he also missed an in-the-key fade away over Big Baby as well as a quick a turnaround in the lane over him. He missed on one post up move on Garnett. The Celtics were able to push him off his spot.

What Perkins provided in the halfcourt others can provide — Sheed is long and can be a good post defender, Big Baby can provide that physical presence. Both can slow Gasol if Boston can keep the game in the half court.

Where Gasol can exploit any Celtics defender is if he beats them down the court in transition or they do not box him out on the boards. The Celtics without Perkins were very guilty of both of those last game. Both are also correctable mistakes, things that simply require focus.

The same rules apply to Lamar Odom — in the halfcourt he has struggled all series against Boston. But if he is allowed to get a rebound then run out and lead the break he is very dangerous. Boston needs to keep him caged.

More Sheed could be key in another way — his ability to shoot the three can pull Gasol out away from protecting the basket. He can open up the floor for the slashing drives of Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce. Big men who can stretch the floor have been a problem for the Lakers all season.

Certainly Boston is going to be missing something without the fire of Perkins defending the paint. But for one game, against these Lakers, it does not have to be a championship-costing injury to the Celtics. If their other big men can execute.

  1. Hackpiper - Jun 17, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Enough talk. Bring on the game!

  2. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 17, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    I am in agreement. Let the game ensue so that I may gaze upon the greatness of My Phil, the Lakers, and my Hobbits who were lucky enough to score courtside seats (they will be playing with Jack Nicholson). To those who doubt the Lakers….dunder foots to you!
    I shall no lmfao and depart
    LMFAO!

  3. Lakers again... - Jun 17, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    Man, I can’t recall an article that had this many “ifs”…. Do you really feel confident about your chances when you have to say, if this happens, and then this happens, and if it causes them to do this, then maybe this will will happen?
    Wow, let the game begin. All ifs are gone at that point, just play the game.

  4. nadeem - Jun 17, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    If Sheed gets hot on offense the Lakers are done.

  5. Ken - Jun 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Your Phil Jackson? Last time I checked he won 6 championships with the Bulls…so…

  6. Omnius - Jun 17, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Losing Perkins is a big deal because it totally changes how Boston rotates it’s little big men. Rest assured Garnett and Wallace are too old to play too many minutes and Wallace is too foul prone to stay on the court long. Big Baby may be young enough to play major minutes but he’s not as good as Perkins in clogging up the paint on defense. Bynum may not be able to play major minutes but he’ll play long enough for the Lakers to take control of the game by pounding the ball into the paint until Ancient Gang Green cries uncle the way they did early in game 6. No sympathy from us Laker fans on Perkins being out, we had to endure having Bynum and Ariza out in 2008 and Celtic fans didn’t show us any sympathy. Air Kobe will lead Laker Showtime to a repeat title tonight to end the Sweet Revenge Series!

  7. DCLAKERFAN - Jun 17, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    if ‘sheed had balls he’d be a man…next dumb statement please..

  8. Otto from LA - Jun 17, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    What on earth is wrong with your head? Is this gibberish supposed to actually MEAN something? Whatever it is you “scored” obviously has had a lasting effect.
    BTW, “Your lover Phil” has been diddling Jeanie Buss for years, and has lost control of the team… Kobe is coaching now. Phil only coaches “now and Zen”.

  9. Boston Blackie - Jun 17, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    If BRAINS were dynamite, Foul Dwimmerlaik would’t have enough to blow his nose!Dumber than a ballpine hammer.

  10. Kobe's Destiny, Jr. - Jun 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    You guys are really dumb and dumber if you think he is the real Foul Dwimmerlaik. His original handle is Kobe’s Destiny. Obviously he has got Asperger’s Syndrome, hence he goes on flooding the board and using someone else’s name handle, thinking he has added up points on the ad hominem chart. Hell has no fury like a gay man’scorned. BWAHAHAHA!!! But yes, Boston Blackie, I am in agreement that this bloke is such a berk.
    At any rate, Perk’s loss IS a big deal for the Celtics. It’s a TEAM game remember? And rightly so. Could Gang Green pull this one off? The possibility is there, but probability wise, it doesn’t look good, at least where I’m seeing. Though I’m a Laker fan, I don’t question the heart of this team. They have the capability to let the Lakers run for their trophy money. Hence, I’m mighty proud and ten times happier the moment our franchise gets Sweet Sixteen this year. GO LAKERS!!!

  11. steve - Jun 17, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    I just hope the Lakers come out with fire. The worst thing would be overconfidence. They need to work hard on every defensive possession. Perk or no Perk, the Celtics will not roll over. Go Lakers – Show your champion spirit

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