Celtics don't have this down to a T just yet

Kendrick Perkins has eight technicals in about a month. Kendrick Perkins has eight technicals in about a month. (File/Elsa/Getty Images)
By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / November 26, 2008
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WALTHAM - The first thing you should know about technical fouls is that they're not cheap.

They're $1,000 a pop, and that's just the first five. The next five go for $1,500. Five more and you're looking at $2,000 plus a warning letter from the league after No. 12.

The 16th is the suspension ceiling, where every other technical costs you a one-game suspension. They also cost you $2,500 each.

Kendrick Perkins has eight techs in about a month. Feel free to grab a calculator.

But Perkins isn't checking his bank balance.

"Yeah they fine me," said Perkins after practice yesterday, two days after a dunk, a yell, and a mix-up with Chris Bosh in Toronto earned him his eighth technical of the season, and a fine total of $9,500. "But I don't really see it like that. It ain't really putting a dent in my pocket."

If the league is going to take the money, Perkins said, it will take it.

And if the referees are going to call the techs, he said, then they call them.

His point is that it's out of his control.

"This is what I'm trying to explain to y'all," he said. "I'm not trying to be out there getting techs. It's just something, you get caught up in the heat of the moment. It's something I can't control, but I'm not trying to get techs. I'm not trying to let them take a thousand dollars out my pockets every time."

It's not always Perkins's pocket. In all, the Celtics have been called for 31 technical fouls (16 on players, three on the coach, the rest on incidentals). For perspective, Milwaukee is second in the league with 18.

Perkins, who was tied with Kevin Garnett for the team lead last year at nine, has more techs by himself than eight teams.

Doc Rivers is in a race with George Karl for tops among coaches with three.

"I think I had four or five last year," Rivers said, "but I always get them early."

Rivers says it's not a concern. At this point, it's more of a distraction.

"I'm not worried about it," he said. "We talk about it. But I want our guys to be emotional. We just have to make sure we do it under control."

The Celtics have sent several tapes to the league for reexamination. Rivers said, in a lot of cases, Perkins is being whistled for reacting to an altercation he didn't start.

"A lot of them are double technicals, where someone's saying something to him and he turns around and they get a double tech," Rivers said. "That, to me, is where the officials have to do their job. I think it's easier to discipline both people instead of saying this guy started it, we're just going to give you a tech."

Perkins joked that he wouldn't mind being put in the same category as Rasheed Wallace or Ron Artest.

"They're two great players in this league," he said.

But they also wear "hothead" labels, and on many occasions they've earned technical fouls on reputation alone. If there's a concern for Perkins, it would be that referees may start to see him that way.

"They're either going to like me or they're not," he said. "I'm not saying nothing to them. I'm just going to go out there and play my game."

In talking about the fouls, Rivers found himself rehashing a lot of the things he said a week ago about players talking on the court. He doesn't necessarily view it as a bad thing. For one, it's an easy indicator of emotion (see: Garnett). It's also one of Paul Pierce's favorite tactics.

"I use it to frustrate my opponent," Pierce said. "Sort of like something Larry Bird used to do in the day or Michael [Jordan] and a lot of those guys."

And in a way it's becoming sort of a Celtics hallmark.

"That's how we are," Perkins said. "We've been like this since last year. That's how we play. Guys are going to try to get at us, so we're going to get at them first."

But the downside is what Rivers calls "emotional sabotage." The concept is simple: being so emotional that you let it ruin the way you play.

The talking hasn't hindered Perkins's game, but it has distracted people from how well he's played.

He's ninth among Eastern Conference centers in rebounding (7.3) and assists (1.3), and second to Dwight Howard in the East in blocks (1.93). And even though the Boston offense isn't built for him to do a ton of scoring (4.9 shots a game), he's still hitting 57 percent of the shots he's taking.

The techs, the fines, and the aftermath are out of his hands.

The only real answer, Perkins said, is self-control.

"I'm going to change," he said. "But there's nothing I can do about it now. They already issued the techs out to me. It ain't like I can go get them back."

Julian Benbow can be reached at

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