Kendrick Perkins Cries Foul, Boston Celtics Host Pity Party

Ben SteigerwaltCorrespondent IMay 27, 2010

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 18:  Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics walks towards the bech against the Orlando Magic in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 18, 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Let me put it this way.

You’re a kid and your mom tells you not to do something. You do it anyway. You get in trouble.

That’s the way it works, right?

Well, apparently not if the NBA is your mom and you play for the Boston Celtics. Then, as we’re seeing now with Kendrick Perkins, you set off a firestorm of controversy. 

Like getting Dad’s permission to do what Mom said was unacceptable.

Fans and columnists will cry, “The NBA is fixed!”  People will watch video clips and wonder why Perkins was issued two technical fouls.

But let’s stop and wonder something else altogether. Let’s wonder how, in only 16 postseason games, Perkins has managed to accumulate seven techs.

If technical fouls No. 2 and No. 5 were questionable, would we be hearing this outcry. Heck, they might have actually been bad calls. I certainly didn’t hear about them.

We’re bound to hear Boston Celtics fans defending the team. And I’m fine with that.

But if the NBA upholds the technical foul calls and suspends Perkins (as they should, if the techs meet the league’s requirements), I don’t want to hear and see sports media caught up in whether or not this should have an effect on the Eastern Conference Finals.

News flash: if Kendrick Perkins is suspended, it will have an effect on the series. And it will be his fault.

Want to know how many technical fouls I got in my (not-so-illustrious) basketball career? One. And I got it because I dribbled the ball off of my foot on a fast break, causing it to go out of bounds. I spiked the ball out of frustration and knew I was in trouble before I even heard the whistle.

You see, I had parents in the stands. And a coach. As I trudged toward the bench, I knew I wasn’t going back in that game. Not because I was kicked out, but because I needed to learn a lesson.

That was the end of it. From then on, if I was whistled for a foul, I raised my hand and turned my back toward the scorer’s table so they knew which number to write down.

Now, I don’t mean to say that Kendrick Perkins’ fate is due to a lack of life lessons or sportsmanship. No, actually, that’s exactly what I mean to say.

If you have five technical fouls to your name, what on Earth are you doing putting yourself in a situation where you could get a sixth? Or a seventh, for that matter.

Kendrick Perkins, how many calls have you gotten reversed by moaning to the refs?

I realize that this isn’t an issue specific to Perkins. Nightly, we are treated to ridiculous histrionics whenever a foul is called. Yes, Dwight Howard, in addition to your Stan Van Gundy impression, I’ve noticed your other acting talents.

I also realize that player theatrics are part of how the NBA works. There are definitely cases of preferential referee treatment toward star players as well. But to assume that these things belong in the game and conditionally apply them for the purposes of making an argument is just silly.

The fact of the matter is that Kendrick Perkins had no business putting himself in a situation where he could get additional technical fouls. 

The first tech for the accidental elbow was absolutely a bad call. But the second one was unnecessary melodrama. You’ll hear from others that, Perkins was “just walking away.” But I can say with relative confidence that simply walking doesn’t typically look like a 13-year-old girl storming off after getting some bad news.

I’m giving Doc Rivers a pass here because I think, at least in public, he has to express support for a player that he’ll definitely want around in Game Six. I think privately, between Rivers and Perkins, the discussion will be a bit different.

At the end of the day, the Boston Celtics’ fate isn’t going to be tied to Perkins’. With a 3-2 series lead, they’re still in good position to get to the NBA Finals (assuming health concerns with Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis aren’t too serious).

If their path turns out to be more difficult due to a suspension, Perkins—not the NBA, referees or a magic bullet—will be to blame. 

If only he’d had my junior high coach to guide him.