Celtics notebook

Wallace pushed to the brink

He’s one technical from a 1-game ban

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / June 11, 2010

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Rasheed Wallace now finds himself in the same danger zone as Kendrick Perkins.

Wallace was one of the catalysts in the fourth-quarter charge that helped the Celtics tie the NBA Finals at 2-2 with a 96-89 win over the Lakers last night, but he walked away from the win with his sixth technical foul of the playoffs, leaving him one shy of an automatic one-game suspension.

He picked up the technical with 7:25 to go in the fourth, exaggeratedly shocked at being called for a foul on Kobe Bryant under the basket. There have been times in the Finals when Wallace was so shocked by calls that his face lit up in equal parts surprise and outrage, high-stepping and dancing away from both the play and the officials.

After being called for the foul on Bryant by Scott Foster, Wallace did the same dance from the basket almost to halfcourt, but this time the officials had apparently had enough, leading to the technical.

The Celtics came into the series having to deal with Perkins on the technical foul bubble after having one technical from the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando rescinded. Now, they’ll have another one of their big men walking on eggshells.

“I hope they rescind that one because I thought he did a dance but he ran away,’’ said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “I didn’t think he said anything. The dance was funny, and so I could see it, but I don’t know. I just wish they hadn’t given it to him. It is a concern.’’

Perkins has made it through three games without drawing a technical but did receive a warning in Game 2 after a mix-up with Pau Gasol. The two got tangled up again last night and Rivers was concerned Perkins and Gasol might receive double technicals. For the second straight game, Perkins sat the entire fourth quarter, mostly so Rivers could keep him out of jeopardy.

“The Lakers know [about our technical situation],’’ Rivers said. “Somehow we’re going to have to keep our composure. I was concerned when Gasol and Perk kept going back and forth, and that was actually one of the reasons I said we’ve got to get him out, because you could see it, the double technicals, it was about to come.

“But listen, we’ve put ourselves in this situation, and we’re going to have to play ourselves out of it.’’

View from above
Although Phil Jackson and Rivers have done their share of complaining about the officiating, the league hasn’t talked about fining either coach.

“I haven’t seen what’s going on, but a little chirping is OK,’’ said commissioner David Stern. “It shows that they’re human. It’s the howling that’s misdirected, and I haven’t heard them howling.’’

Stern, meanwhile, said he was aware of the incident between Tony Allen and Bryant in the fourth quarter of Game 3. Allen took a foot to the neck as Bryant kicked his leg out on a 3-pointer. Allen hit the floor, saying he lost his breath briefly, and had to leave the game.

“This is a game of centimeters, and you do the best you can under the circumstances,’’ Stern said. “There are players that have certain styles and we have to do our best to make sure we shave those styles a bit if in fact they cause harm to other players, and that’s a continual process.’’

Bryant was suspended twice in 2007 for elbowing opponents as he followed through on jumpers.

In the running
Wallace went into Game 4 averaging more minutes in the Finals (18.3) than in any other series this postseason, making it difficult to recover from the back pain he first experienced in the Orlando series. But at this point, Rivers said, “We can’t worry about it, anyway.’’ Rivers said he’s more concerned about Wallace’s conditioning than his back. “The two weeks or three weeks of literally just playing in games, they catch up to you condition-wise,’’ said Rivers. “But I think over the last four or five days he’s been running every day just trying to get his wind back to sustain it more.’’ Wallace played 21 minutes 45 seconds last night, collecting 3 points and 5 fouls . . . Jared Dudley came close to playing in the Finals, his Phoenix Suns falling to the Lakers in six games in the Western finals. But that didn’t keep the former Boston College star from taking in last night’s game at the Garden. In his third year in the league, Dudley carved out a niche as a defender and 3-point shooter, and he averaged 7.6 points and 3.8 rebounds in the postseason.

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