Despite pains, gains made
Wallace, Davis tough off bench
Rasheed Wallace walked off the TD Garden floor with the Eastern Conference championship trophy in his hands and his son by his side. He was one of the many walking wounded who suited up for the Celtics, knowing the magnitude of last night’s Game 6 outweighed the pain they carried over from Game 5.
Wallace played 12 minutes. He didn’t make a shot. He didn’t score a point. He pulled down three rebounds and in the fourth quarter he again tweaked his back, an ailment which forced him to leave the previous game with spasms.The first thing Celtics coach Doc Rivers said to him was, “Thank you.’’
“Rasheed could not move,’’ Rivers said. “He looked old tonight because of his back. When he came back in you could see him in pain. I said, ‘Thank you for giving me the minutes you gave me.’ ’’
It was the kind of night where players simply had to ignore their health issues. Glen Davis sustained a concussion in Game 5 compliments of a Dwight Howard elbow. He was cleared to play earlier in the day and gave the Celtics 6 points and 7 rebounds in 17 minutes, but the effects were apparent.
“I was kind of dizzy a little bit because of the loud noise and just the adrenaline,’’ Davis said. “But then I kind of slowed down. I just thought, just go out there and play, and that’s what I did.’’
Rivers was aware of both players’ health state, saying, “I will say this about Rasheed and Baby — neither one of them was in great shape tonight, and you could see that.’’
Adding to the list of maladies was Rajon Rondo, who played just 32 minutes — his lowest total of the postseason — resting his back. Rivers said he would be OK, but he was glad to get the rest.
“That may be the most important thing going into the next series,’’ Rivers said.
“I know I need it,’’ said Paul Pierce, who made it through the series mostly unscathed. “I got a couple injuries that I want to cure up over the last couple days. Just minor stuff like foot, back, stuff like that. But nothing major for me. Running into Dwight Howard really doesn’t help your body none going through a series like this. When you’re constantly going over screens that he’s setting, it wears on you.’’
“Obviously one is special, but the other groups have a couple and we’d love to join that club,’’ said Rivers. “But we’ve got a tough road. Phoenix or the Lakers, it’s not going to be easy for us.’’
Said Pierce, “This is an opportunity that I have for my second trip to the Finals, knowing that a lot of guys never made it. So we’re really excited about this. We never take moments like this for granted.’’
“I thought both of them were going to get rescinded,’’ Perkins said. “But I’m glad one of them did. I’m just happy to be back on the court.’’
He’s still on thin ice, however, just one technical from a suspension. He said he wouldn’t let being in the danger zone affect his aggressiveness.
“I go out there and play my game,’’ Perkins said. “I can’t worry about getting another tech. I can’t play like that. I’ve got to go out there and do my job.
“If they want me to play physical, I’ll play physical. I might even smile a couple of times. I’ve got to go out there and play. I can’t worry about nothing else.’’
Perkins’s first technical was issued in the second quarter when he slipped trying to lift Pierce off the floor. His arm shot back and hit Magic backup center Marcin Gortat, which appeared to be an elbow.
“It was an accident,’’ Perkins said. “I didn’t do that on purpose. It was an accident. But I’m glad they took back one of them.’’
Perkins drew 15 technicals in the regular season, and the team has talked to him about controlling his emotions.
“We always talk about not letting the referees have an effect where it can put us in a precarious situation on the floor,’’ said Ray Allen. “It is at the behest of what they see whether it’s a foul, or a flagrant or a technical, whatever it may be, but we start that action. Being smart. You have to play hard, but you have to be smart.’’
Five of Perkins’s six postseason technicals have come on double techs, cleaning up dustups with other big men. He acknowledged those situations were difficult to avoid, but said he has to find a way.
“I know [there’s] going to be times when you get tangled up in the paint,’’ Perkins said. “But I just feel like if I go out there and just worry about winning the game — no matter how we win it — then [technicals] come second.
“It’s the playoffs. It’s going to be intense. Guys are going to tangle up by accident at times. I just feel like at times, it’s times that they can let it go. But sometimes, they need to try to control the game so it won’t get out of hand. It’s just part of being out there and being physical I guess.’’
“He caught me off guard,’’ Davis said. “That’s the biggest thing. I didn’t see it coming. When you don’t brace yourself for it, that’s what happens.’’
Trying to gather himself and get back on defense, Davis stumbled so badly he had to be caught by referee Joey Crawford and Wallace.
“I just couldn’t catch my legs,’’ Davis said. “I remember everything. I just couldn’t catch my legs. It was like my legs were just gone, like a boxer.’’
Asked if he thought it was a dirty play, Davis said, “I don’t know what to think. It’s not the only time he threw elbows. Then he considers [himself] to be a friend of mine. That’s what he said, right? I think the league should watch everything. And that’s what they’re doing.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.