BOSTON — Depending on the night, Eddie F. Rush's middle initial could stand for a whole different number of things. Many, many more times than not, it has nothing to do with "fun," "friendly" or "fine at his job."
Most recently, the NBA official is best known for dishing out a pair of technical fouls to Celtics center Kendrick Perkins in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Magic. One of the techs was rescinded by the league office, but Perkins still has six in the postseason, and the next one will result in an automatic one-game suspension.
So, a few reporters were clamoring to hear Perkins' reaction to the news that Rush will officiate Thursday's Game 4 of the Finals against the Lakers.
"I don’t know," Perkins said about an hour before tip-off. "I'm glad Eddie is reffing today. I think Eddie is a good ref, to me. Everybody makes mistakes, but that’s in the past. It helped us more than it hurt us."
While the whole world might wonder how that officiating performance actually helped the Celtics, it's at least calmed Perkins down during the last four games. Playing on the edge of a possible suspension, Perkins has made an effort to keep his cool after a tough call.
The officiating job in the Finals has been the subject of plenty of criticism, with an overabundance of foul calls that have destroyed the pace of the first three games. Perkins thinks it might be better if the same three officials called every game, rather than switching them up each night.
"I think that makes a huge difference," Perkins said. "If you've got the same three refs, you don’t have to worry about how they're going to call the series, or how they're going to call each game. Is each game going to be close? Are they going to let you play? If you have the same three refs, you pretty much know what they're going to let you do."