Celtics

Perkins: 'There was a lot of crying'

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Perkins: 'There was a lot of crying'

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

DENVER As the Boston Celtics boarded their team bus to Denver's Pepsi Arena, Kendrick Perkins found himself in an unfamiliar role as a spectator.

This is what happens when you're part of a trade on a game night.

"It's tough man; real tough," Perkins said in a phone interview with CSNNE.com shortly after he was shipped off to Oklahoma City along with Nate Robinson.

Perkins has never been one to keep his emotions bottled up.

When he's angry, you knew it by the scowl or the mean-muggin' face that he would make.

When he was happy, there was a smile that came around a lot more than people realize.

And then there was Thursday afternoon, a day of sadness unlike anything Perkins had ever experienced.

"There was a lot of crying, lot of hugging going on," said Perkins. "And a lot of it was me."

Kevin Garnett usually has a somber-like demeanor, win or lose.

But following Thursday's 89-75 loss to Denver, it was clear that Garnett, much like the rest of the Celtics, were still trying to make sense out of the trade that landed them Jeff Green (a former Celtics draft pick) and Nenad Krstic.

"It's not even about a teammate. It felt like you lost a family member today," Garnett said. "Tough day."

The trade really puts to the test just how much these players believe in their head coach, Doc Rivers, and Danny Ainge, the team's president of basketball operations.

"The only thing is, you hope that Danny and Doc know what they're doing," Pierce said. "We trust in them. It is what it is. We can't use any excuses, cry over spilled milk. Hopefully the guys we have coming in here and understand what we're trying to do, is championship goals."

Even before tip-off, it was clear that things were different -- and not in a good way for the Celtics.

The C's locker room is usually a boisterous place with various forms of music blasting through earphones.

On Thursday, the room was dominated by the sound of silence; the kind of silence you expect at a wake or funeral.

As they tried to come to grips with the reality that Perkins was gone, he was back at the hotel, wishing he could play with his "brothers" one more time.

"I miss them," Perkins said. "I ain't gonna lie. I'm gonna miss the hell out of them. It's going to be hard leaving them behind, leaving this team behind and the fans and this city. But this is a business, and being traded is part of that business."

He joins an Oklahoma City team that has a pair of All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

But what has been missing in the Thunder's quest to be a title contender, is a physical enforcer-type who does a lot of the dirty work and does it well.

Enter Kendrick Perkins.

"That is one of the good things about all this," he said. "I'm going to a good team, a young team, but a good team. And from what I've been told, they wanted me pretty bad. That's always a good feeling, to be wanted."

The Celtics certainly wanted to keep him long term when they offered him a four-year contract extension worth about 22 million.

Perkins will likely play well enough to earn a much higher salary, which was among the reasons why he turned down the C's offer.

Even though Perkins and the Celtics were unable to come to terms on a contract extension, he is quick to say he has no ill will towards the organization or any of his teammates.

"Like I said earlier, I love this team and I love those fellas," Perkins said. "I'm playing for another team now, but I'm always going to pull for them when I see them play. We're brothers. That's never going to change."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
 
But six?
 
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.

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And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
 
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
 
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
 
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
 
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
 
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
 
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
 
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
 
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
 
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
 
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
 
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
 
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”
 

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

BOSTON – As expected, the NBA has fined Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for using “inappropriate language” toward a fan at the Friday night game in Philadelphia.
 
The incident occurred at halftime as Irving and his teammates were heading to the locker room, trailing by four. Boston went on to win 102-92 for their first victory of the season.
 
A fan yelled, “Hey, where’s LeBron?” to which Irving replied with a lewd suggestion to the yeller.
 
The Celtics practiced on Saturday with Irving addressing the incident.

When asked if he had any regrets about the incident, Irving replied, “Hell no. Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s social media platform we live on.
 
Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”
 
When asked about the incident on Saturday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had not seen the video but was aware of it.
 
“People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on,” Stevens said. “There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”

It was the second such fine levied by the league in as many days. 

New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 for "inappropriate language" toward a fan when the Pelicans lost 103-91 at Memphis on Wednesday.