The man assigned with covering Dwight Howard expects a Superman effort from the outspoken Orlando center.
“Yeah, he’ll probably come out with a point to prove,” Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said at Thursday’s shoot around at Amway Arena, “I know he wants to be the best player on the court, so yeah he is going to come out with a point to prove.”
Following Tuesday night’s game, Howard criticized his head coach Stan Van Gundy for not calling plays for him to get the ball during the last five minutes as the Magic watched a 10-point lead evaporate, and the Celtics prevailed 92-88, giving Boston a 3-2 series lead.
But Perkins, who is responsible for defending the Orlando big man, feels Howard has been getting plenty of touches.
“I’ve been hearing that, but they’ve been going to him a lot,” Perkins said, “I think he’s been getting a lot of shot attempts. Last game, Rashard Lewis had it going, he and (Hedo) Turkoglu. It’s crazy because if they had won they game nothing would have been said about his touches. They were up 10 with six minutes left doing what they were doing all game, and that was going through Rashard and Turkoglu. If they had won the game, nothing would have been said.”
But don’t expect a rollover job from the Magic tonight, according to Perkins.
“It’s more urgent,” Perkins said. “You hear about all the conflict and confusion that’s going on with their team right now but I think a team could grow closer and come together off something like this. You never know. They might come together so you’ve got to expect them to come out with a lot of energy and be emotional. They’re going to come out fighting hard.”
Perkins and the Celtics face Orlando in central Florida with a chance to close out the Eastern Conference semifinal series and avoid a Game Seven back in Boston on Sunday night.
Perkins, like every other Celtics player, coach, GM, and fan wants to take care of business tonight and get a few extra days of rest before a potential Eastern Conference final with LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers next week.
“I think it’s very important. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult. We’ve got a team that’s hungry for the championship and we’re in their building tonight and no team wants to go home so we’ve got to expect their best.”