LOS ANGELES –It’s official: Kendrick Perkins will not play tonight and Leon Powe will start. Perkins spoke to us in the Celtics locker room just moments ago and said the pain was too much to overcome.
“If somebody bumped me right now, there’s a lot of pain in there,” said Perkins. “So I knew I couldn’t go tonight. I felt that yesterday. But hopefully we can close it out.”
Perkins said he thinks he could play in a potential Game 6.
“I will play on Tuesday if it goes that far,” he said. “Hopefully we close it out tonight. That’s the biggest thing. I’m focused right now for the guys.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said his team would not change much with Perkins out of the lineup.
“The only thing that this really changes is with Perk on the floor, it allows you to do certain things with Kevin as far as being a roamer, and it basically takes him out of that role,” said Rivers. “So that’s a tough blow. But other than that, we’ve had injuries all year at certain times, and the other guys have pitched in. So we’re fine.”
Powe said he found out he was starting this morning. He said he wasn’t worried about his new role.
“It’s not too different,” said Powe. “Coming off the bench you get to see the flow of the game. As a starter you don’t have to do that. But nothing changes for me. I still have to go out there and be aggressive on the rebounding and defensive end. If I get a scoring opportunity I have to be aggressive with that, too.”
Powe said the Celtics would miss Perkins tonight.
“He anchors our defense,” said Powe. “He’s the one that gets everybody going on the defensive end. He’s the one who blocks shots…it’s my job to fill in that role.”