Sure, Kendrick Perkins returned to the court after six months of rehabbing a torn ACL 10 days earlier than anticipated. And sure, he put up respectable numbers on the box score -- seven points, six rebounds, three assists in 17 minutes. However, nit-picking, one thing was missing.
At one point in the game, the 6-10 center stood towering over referee, Scott Twardoski, yelling for the foul to be called on Cleveland's J.J. Hickson.
A familiar site for Celtics fans. However, just the lobbying wasn't enough. It went without the accustomed result, a technical foul.
"I was trying to get the tech to show everybody that I was back," said a smiling Perk after the game. "But it's cool, it's cool."
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"I mean, he almost ran after the [referee] that one time," said coach Doc Rivers after the game. "And I was thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me. Perk's back.' When he did it, the whole bench started laughing, saying, 'Perk's back.'"
"He's going to get a tech soon," said Rivers, getting a laugh from the room of reporters.
It's surprising that the technical wasn't called. New rules have been instituted in the NBA this season which assess technicals to players for any kind of lobbying to the refs. That just happens to be one of Perk's trademarks. In last year's playoffs, Perk played the entire NBA Finals just one technical away from being suspended for a game. In fact, he was assessed a technical that put him over the limit in the Eastern Conference Finals series against the Orlando Magic. The technical was later overruled by the league. If he were playing all of this season, he could be in danger of suspension.
"I think because he started so late, he can't get to the [technical foul limit]," said Rivers laughing. "So, I think we're safe there because at the end of the day, Perks going to be Perk...I'm thinking we have a cushion."
There will be plenty of technical fouls to go around for Perkins this year and he'll get his next chance Thursday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. Seeing Perk back on the court was up-lifting for not only the team but the fans as well. Soon enough, the starting five that's never lost a playoff series will be re-united and ready to make another run at an eighteenth banner.
"It felt good [to be back]," said Perkins, a smirk replacing his trademark scowl. "It felt real good, to be honest. Just everybody supporting me, I'm just happy to be back out there."
The city's glad to welcome him back.