All year Boston Celtics fans have been raving over their new "Big Three". Garnett, Pierce, and Allen, it never stops. Heck, even players like James Posey and the flashy Rajon Rondo are fan favorites. The one man often overlooked in the Celtics' rotation is their starting man in the middle; Kendrick Perkins.
This whole year, Boston has prided themselves upon defensive play and dominating the paint. So far in their series vs. the Lakers, the Celtics had been doing just that, dominating the paint and harassing the Lakers every trip down the floor. Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom were "soft" and the Celtics were owning the glass. This, of course, was all when Kendrick Perkins was in the lineup.
When Perkins was absent from his usual starting spot in the starting lineup Sunday night in Game Five, Boston fans did not fret. Leon Powe and PJ Brown could easily make up for Perk's modest 7 points and 6 rebounds per game average, right?
Well, it turned out that with Perkins out of the lineup, Gasol was no longer "soft", but rather the second coming of Bill Russell. Criticized in the series for his poor play against the physical Boston front line, Gasol, was getting his mitts on every Laker miss, creating second-chance opportunities.
With no Perkins down on the low post, Boston fans had to learn the hard way that Perkins is the most underrated player on the Celtic's roster. His hard-nosed mentality and rough play was missed and the undersized Leon Powe and softer PJ Brown could not get the job done.
Now we move to a Game Six where Perkins is yet again "doubtful" according to his Head Coach Doc Rivers. This means that Boston could be short-handed down low, and must find another way to contain Gasol and Odom on the glass. The way to do this is unknown, but on thing is certain; Kendrick Perkins will no longer be overlooked by Boston fans anymore.