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NBA finals, Lakers Celtics Game 7: Captain Obvious is reporting that Boston missed Kendrick Perkins

Jun 18, 2010, 2:58 AM EDT

perkins_game7.pngIt’s not all that difficult to figure out how the Lakers won the NBA title while shooting an impressively awful 32.5% from the field. With the Laker bigs as active as ever on the offensive glass, L.A. managed 12 more field goal attempts and 20 more free throw attempts than the Celtics. Those are free possessions conjured by effort and size alone, and even if the possessions gained were used somewhat haphazardly, that’s still an outrageous amount of extra opportunities. Even if most were misses (and that they were), the few hits were enough for volume to win out.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the impact of Kendrick Perkins’ absence. Perk trailed only Kevin Garnett among the Celtics in defensive rebounding percentage this season (and by a slim margin at that; KG grabbed the defensive board 24.8% of the time while on the floor, and Perk got the rebound 24.4% of the time), and his size and rebounding abilities are even more important against a team like L.A.

It’s not quite as simple as pointing to Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis, either. They combined for 17 rebounds in a low-possession game, which is frankly even better than should be expected. The problem big for the Celtics turned out to Kevin Garnett, who not only failed to grab more than three boards of his own, but was clearly incapable of preventing Pau Gasol from grabbing offensive rebounds at will. The Spaniard finished the nine offensive boards without Garnett boxing him out properly or Perkins to clean up the mess, which is a bit of a problem.

Maybe Gasol still would have been a prolific offensive rebounder with Perkins on the court. After all, it’s not like Perk’s mere presence would make Garnett a better rebounder. Still, it’s tough to shake the feeling that Boston having another big body on the floor would make some kind of difference. If not one less offensive rebound of Gasol, then maybe one less for Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, or Ron Artest.

I don’t know, but one of those offensive rebounds — and especially one of the put-backs that followed — might have had an impact on the game. Y’know, considering the final stages of the fourth quarter teetered between a one-possession game and a two-possession game. Or that Boston was forced to take desperation threes and intentionally foul down the stretch. This was a tight enough game that every little bit counted. Even if Perkins wasn’t going to put up 20 and 10, he could at least be expected to do that much.

  1. caleb allenson - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:32 AM

    How do you continue to have a chance against an opponent with twice as many freethrow attempts night in and night out? What a circus the NBA has become where referees dictate who plays who sits and how the game is played! David Stern your sport SUCKs!!

  2. Celtics Admirer - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:46 AM

    OMG Another one of those whining Celtics Fans. Look up your STATS before you spit out lies and accuse people of not playing fair. Oh and by the way, grow up and be descent enough to accept defeat and take it like a sport.

  3. Ron - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    What isn’t pointed out here is that Rasheed Wallace gave them big and early points and also was pretty consistent throughout the game…Sheed played a great game and if he wasn’t on the court perhaps this game doesn’t come down to the last 11 seconds, eh?
    Revisionist history. You have to love it.

  4. kwc - Jun 18, 2010 at 5:43 AM

    I agree, Wallace filled in big time. Here’s something to consider: Wallace and Artest as 2 of the biggest factors in the game. Without Wallace’s scoring and rebounding, maybe the Celtics don’t command the first half. Take away Artest’s 1st half scoring when nearly everyone else was shooting terribly and maybe LA gets blown out and can’t recover. I think Artest is the 7th game MVP (Kobe needs to pass that MVP trophy around) and arguably without him playing as he did, the Celtics would have won the championship.

  5. Mike - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:05 AM

    Game 1 3.00 Rbs, 1.00 A, 0 blks, 1.00 Stl, 8.00 Pnts
    Game 2 6.00 Rbs, 3.00 A, 0 blks, 0.00 Stl, 12.00 Pnts
    Game 3 11.00 Rbs, 1.00 A, 0 blks, 0.00 Stl, 5.00 Pnts
    Game 4 7.00 Rbs, 0.00 A, 0 blks, 0.00 Stl, 6.00 Pnts
    Game 5 7.00 Rbs, 0.00 A, 0 blks, 0.00 Stl, 6.00 Pnts
    Game 6 7.00 Rbs, 1.00 A, 0 blks, 0.00 Stl, 4.00 Pnts
    Avg 6.83 Rbs, 1.00 A, 0 blks, 0.17 Stl, 6.83 Pnts
    Game 6 8.00 Rbs, 2.00 A, 2 blks, 0.00 Stl, 11.00 Pnts
    The numbers speak for themselves. Perkins only beats Wallace in 1 important area, and even then, only by a minuscule amount. Every other area Wallace has Perkins beat in terms of overall positive impact for the Celtics. In terms of intangibles. Wallace’s overall higher numbers across the board also suggest greater presence, hustle and activity. As others have noted, Wallace also sparked the Celtics early scoring lead.
    Obvious conclusion: Celtics much better off with Wallace over Perkins.
    I agree that Artest was the MVP of game 7, but there is also no doubt of Kobe being the series MVP being the scoring leader as well as great defensive effort and stats throughout the whole series.

  6. Foul Dwimmerlaik - Jun 18, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Boo hoo I say to you. Boo hoo. The whine flows as sweet nectar of victory. I, King of The Hobbits, allow my greatness to humiliate those who doubt it. Just as my Phil (my love and my lover) allows his greatness to illuminate those who live in the dark
    Hazzah to My Phil.
    And now, I lmfao at those who would not believe and I depart.

  7. dave - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Any talk of the Celtics missing Perkins must also mention the Lakers missing Bynum, who was a shell of himself through most of these playoffs. When you play the what if game, then you have to account for all factors. You can’t just say what if Perkins was healthy but Bynum wasn’t. Because I can just say what if Bynum was healthy and Perkins wasn’t. The real question is what if all players on both teams were healthy, and that includes Kobe, Garnett, etc. And you know, then you’re headed ever deeper into a fantasy world, because there are always injuries, and teams always have to adapt. The Lakers adapted to their injuries better than the Celtics adapted to theirs.

  8. Omnius - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Did missing Perkins really cost Boston game 7? Granted Perkins would have allowed Garnett and Wallace to rest more so they wouldn’t run out of gas late in the 4th quarter. Would Boston really have come out so inspired in game 7 had Perkins played? The Celtics were inspired by the absence of Perkins and the Lakers got complacent, like against Houston last year when Yao Ming went down. Wallace played superb early on in place of Perkins and gave the Celtics every opportunity to win the game, even with his last 3 pointer late in the 4th. It’s impossible to tell how game 7 would have played out had the Celtics been more Perky, but I think the Lakers were destined to win regardless as they are the best team over the past 3 years. As a Laker fan I salute the Celtics for playing such a great NBA Finals and game 7 and for providing the Lakers the chance to show they are the toughest team in the NBA.

  9. jack myhogoff - Jun 19, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Rasheed played great, opened the floor offensively with 3 point shooting. Defensively, did a better job than Perkins against the lakers bigs. I am a fan of both teams, pulling for boston cause i live on the east coast.I concluded 5 reasons celtics lost game 7.
    1) Paul Pierce, as Van Gundy said, should have been in a pick and roll/pop at the top of the arch to create more space from Ron Artesticles. 2) Ray Allen missed a lot of good looks (but, his defense on Kobe was outstanding). 3) Lakers played great 4th quarter defense using double teams. 4) lakers rebounding as stated was dominant and kept them from getting blown out. 5) the refs made a few bad calls in lakers favor in the 4th. Paul Pierce had two blocking calls against him that were both charges.One near the end when kobe scored, and should have been his sixth foul. one against Gasul at half court, which would have gave boston the ball, and a chance for a tie, or a win if kobe’s charge was called correctly and the 2 points didn’t count. Perk being out was not a factor.

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