LOS ANGELES --- If the Celtics are to win their record 18th NBA championship on Thursday night, they'll have to do it without starting center Kendrick Perkins. The Celtics big man sprained ligaments in his knee during the first quarter of Game 6 Tuesday night and won't be able to play, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
You can interpret the news a number of ways:
1. Very bad news. The Celtics can't possibly win without their grittiest defensive player. Perkins is the one thing the Lakers really don't have -- a tough, nasty big man who bulls his way around the court. Without him, the Celtics must rely on Rasheed Wallace and Big Baby Davis, who don't have the same defensive ferocity.
2. The Celtics will be fine. Boston has a veteran team that has shown -- time and again over the last few years -- that it can handle adversity. The C's rarely play two bad games back to back and they'll find a way to cover for their missing man. In fact, it may be a blessing in disguise considering Wallace and Davis are better offensive players than Perkins, so the Lakers will be forced to defend both guys.
3. Who knows? This series has been a two-week lesson in unpredictable hoops madness. Writer William Goldman's famous line about about Hollywood also applies to this series: Nobody knows Anything. Who saw a monster blowout coming last night? Who predicted Kobe Bryant would score 23 consecutive points for his team in Game 5 -- and still lose? Who said Ray Allen would set a 3-pointer record in one game -- then almost break the record for the worst shooting performance in an NBA Finals game during the very next game? Nobody.
We'll see how it plays out Thursday night.