Sitting a tech shy of a suspension, Kendrick Perkins has to keep his emotions in check. Lost in it all though, is that he'll have to keep Andrew Bynum in check, too. Injury kept the Lakers big man on the sideline in 2008. He's not exactly healthy going into these Finals either, but his presence gives the Lakers a lot more size than they had two years ago.
That said, Perkins has spent the last two months banging with Dwight Howard, Shaquille O'Neal and if you still count him Jermaine O'Neal. The matchups left him with as many stitches (six) as techs (six), plus a new collection of bruises. Being physical with another 7-footer, he said, shouldn't be an issue. Bynum's skill set, however, might be.
"I feel like youíve got to play [Bynum] physical," Perkins said. "With Bynum heís a skilled guy. He likes to set up deep in the paint. Heís a little bit tougher cover because I think heís a little more skilled than Dwight Howard, not as strong as Dwight, but just more skilled. I think heís got a better touch around the basket."
Perkins' has also apparently had his eyes on the Lakers' box scores. Knee troubles have limited Bynum during the playoffs. He slightly tore his meniscus during the Thunder series and his minutes have dropped each series since. Lakers coach Phil Jackson called Bynum "ineffective" after Bynum played just eight minutes in the Lakers Game 3 loss to Phoenix. Logically, Perkins wondered how much of a factor an injured Bynum would be in this series.
"'He really hasnít been playing that much," Perkins said. "I think heís been playing 18-20 minutes a game. So I donít know how much heís going to affect us. Itís really not who starts the game itís who finishes the game. You never know whoís going to be in there in the fourth. I know Lamar Odomís in there a lot so you never know."
WRONG SIDE OF TOWN
Maybe it was the distant look in his eyes. Maybe it was the long, awkward breaks in his sentences. But Ron Artests looked like he was literally flashing back. He was asked about the Celtics style of play and his memory took him back to blacktop battles on courts where you may have had to fight your way out. Then, he admitted in a twisted way, that he prefers that.
They play hard. Theyíve got a lot of aggressive guys on that team. Theyíve got a lot of guys that played how I played when I grew up. I played against guys like the Celtics where youíve got to go in other peopleís neighborhoods and play basketball and if you wi youíve got to somehow make it out. Iíve played against guys like that. Itís fun. I look forward to that. I donít like playing against guys that touch me and tell me ĎGood defenseí and be nice to me. Itís no fun. Then I get vulberable. I get weak.
'SHEED: 'I'M COOL'
It was as close to "Both teams played hard" as Rasheed Wallace has gotten in a while.
He was asked about the status of his sore back once.
He was asked again.
He was asked a third time.
And with that, it was assumed that he would be ready for the start of the Finals tomorrow.
Wallace has been as low-key as possible the past couple days, shooing most of the media away (but not being able to escape a strange encounter with a "reporter" from the Jimmy Kimmel Show).
But asked to think back to the summer when the Celtics sent the cavalry to his home to lure him to Boston, he reflected some. This will be the third Finals appearance for Wallace, who went twice with the Pistons, winning in 2004 and losing in 2005.
"Not too many 15 year veterans can say they made it to the NBA Finals," Wallace said. "Iím just thankful and blessed we had the opportunity to get here. But now we have some more work to do and thatís to try to take away something that a good team has and thatís a championship."