Big problems may leave large hole
ORLANDO, Fla. — When the outcome had been decided and Game 6 tomorrow night at TD Garden was set in stone, all three of them were gone.
Out of the game, and even off the court for a variety of reasons, none of them good for the Celtics, who were pounded, 113-92, by the Magic at Amway Arena last night.
What is even more ominous for the Celtics, who hold a much shakier edge in the Eastern Conference finals than they did three days ago when talk was of a sweep, is that their main strength underneath — starting center Kendrick Perkins, and reserves Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace — all might be questionable for Game 6.
Perkins was the first to depart with 36.1 seconds left in the first half of a game that had more NFL than NBA tendencies, with elbows thrown and bodies colliding, which kept the officiating crew of Joe Crawford, Eddie Rush, and Tom Washington busy. Perkins came out on the short end of a series of calls that triggered his temper, causing an outburst that resulted in one technical foul, quickly followed by another, ending his evening at 2 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.
“Didn’t think he deserved either one, but he got them,’’ coach Doc Rivers said. “Perk was bending down, picking up the ball and got a tech for being around. I don’t know how he got that tech.
“The other tech? It was awfully quick, but they called it. I did think Eddie Rush realized once he called it, he couldn’t rescind the tech because he forgot they had given him the other one. I don’t think Perk would have gotten that one, but that happens.’’
Davis, who played such a huge role in the 94-71 win in Game 3, was whacked with an elbow to the head by Dwight Howard with 9.7 seconds left in the third quarter.
Davis went down for a moment, managed to get back up and staggered to midcourt before Crawford caught/held him and escorted him to the bench with what was diagnosed as a concussion.
“I hope he’s all right,’’ said Howard, who saw Davis staggering at midcourt. “He’s a friend of mine. I never want to see anybody go down.’’
Davis’s status for tomorrow night is doubtful, although he made his intentions perfectly clear. “I’m not speaking,’’ said Davis. “I’m all right. I’ll be back next game. That’s all you need to print.’’
Those developments left Wallace as the last big man standing and he did his best, pumping in a team-high 21 points before fouling out with 4:49 left. With 4:34 left, Wallace made his way off the court with what Rivers described as a “tweak’’ to his back, which also casts some doubt about how much he will be able to play tomorrow.
Wallace was not happy with the outcome or the circumstances. “I ain’t saying anything or I will get fined,’’ he said.
Rivers was equally disturbed and also concerned. “It’s not a pleasant thought,’’ he said, when asked about playing the next game shorthanded. “I mean Rasheed tweaked his back on that one play. Baby, I guess, I don’t know what kind of test they’re going to do with Baby because he’s a little delirious half the time anyway, so I don’t know how he’s going to pass that test. I’m worried about that. But I guess he’s going to have to do something for them to clear him.’’