It's been seven months, 17 days and a lot of sleepless nights for Celtics center Kendrick Perkins since he last started an NBA game. That run ends on Friday night, as Perk makes his return at the TD Garden against the Dallas Mavericks.
With Shaquille O'Neal nursing a sore Achilles and Jermaine O'Neal still out, Perk gets his first start of the season Friday. He hasn't been introduced with the Celtics' starting five since June 15, when the C's lost Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Lakers.
Perk and Kevin Garnett will be Boston's starting front line against Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, who have come together this season to form a mighty 1-2 punch up front for the Mavericks. With Nowitzki fueling the offense and Chandler bringing the energy on the defensive end, the two have meshed together perfectly.
Nowitzki and Chandler took the Celtics down in their first meeting, securing an 89-87 comeback victory in Dallas on Nov. 8. The C's will look for revenge in their own building.
Here's the lineup card for C's-Mavericks:
Rajon Rondo, PG
Ray Allen, SG
Paul Pierce, SF
Kevin Garnett, PF
Kendrick Perkins, C
Jason Kidd, PG
J.J. Barea, SG
DeShawn Stevenson, SF
Dirk Nowitzki, PF
Tyson Chandler, C