If I went back a time and told you a year ago that Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen would be fighting for a trip to the conference finals in 2011, you wouldn't even blink. Yep, that would make perfect sense.
But if I told you they were fighting against each other? And for a trip to the Western Conference finals, not the East? That might raise an eyebrow or two.
That's the surreal world we live in these days. The 2010 C's are a thing of the past, and five of their castoffs — Perk, T.A., Nate Robinson, Eddie House and Brian Scalabrine — outlived the 2011 green team in the postseason. Doc Rivers is now watching the playoffs from his home in Orlando, but two old Celtic friends — Tom Thibodeau and Rick Carlisle — are coaching in the NBA's final four.
It sounds a little backwards, but it's the truth. Let's all try to embrace it.
In a bizarre game for those back in Boston to watch from their living rooms, Perk's Oklahoma City Thunder took T.A.'s Memphis Grizzlies out of the West playoffs in an anticlimactic Game 7 on Sunday afternoon. Of all the former C's dealt away from last year's team in the last 12 months, Perk was the most emotionally charged and the most controversial. But now he's the most influential one left in the 2011 playoffs.
The Thunder traded for the longtime Celtic big man because they needed one more big body in the paint to anchor them defensively. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook dominate that team offensively, obviously, but it's the imposing presence of Perk and Serge Ibaka down low that now define the OKC D. That tandem helped the Thunder defeat the twin towers of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol from Memphis, a duo that downed the mighty Spurs in round one.
Perk just might be the missing piece of the puzzle in Oklahoma City. Boston is still bitter about losing the big fella, but there's a silver lining to this — we can wish him well as he begins the next chapter of his career.
Perk didn't want to leave. He rejected one single solitary contract offer from Danny Ainge this winter — that's just business. He was looking out for himself financially, and that's fine. But he never expected to be traded, and no one took it harder than Perk himself when Ainge pulled the trigger.
He still cares about Boston tremendously. Throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs in OKC, he was constantly checking up on the Celtics' progress. That franchise nurtured him into the league for eight seasons and still means everything to him.
Boston should still care about him, too.
The Celtics may be dead in this postseason, but one of their own has earned the right to play on. He deserves a little love from his old friends back East.
What do you think of Kendrick Perkins now? Share your thoughts below.
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