Mike Greenberg believes the Boston Celtics will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
But Kendrick Perkins doesn’t agree.
Perkins, who spent parts of eight seasons with the Celtics (2003-11), explained Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up” that he has “major concerns” about Kemba Walker’s recovery from the knee injury that has limited the point guard’s minutes in Boston’s two games since the NBA’s restart in Orlando.
“Well, Greeny, you said, ‘If Kemba Walker is healthy… ” If ‘if’ was a fifth, we’d all be drunk,” Perkins said. “I have major concerns about Kemba Walker. Listen, he had a four-month layoff and he’s still not all the way healthy. They need him down the stretch. He was their closer when Jayson Tatum struggled. He’s their guy. He’s their second All-Star.
“So, with that being said, when you look at the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics, I think they cancel each other out at the guard and wing positions, but I’m gonna go with (Jay Williams’) point and talk about their bigs.”
The Milwaukee Bucks, who own the NBA’s best record, remain the favorites to come out of the East. Perkins is high on the Raptors, though, largely because of their front-court depth, a current perceived weakness of the Celtics.
“The Raptors have two bigs that can anchor a defense and protect the paint, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol — both of those guys are elite defenders. And by the way, I’ve never seen a team that is so happy to play defense,” Perkins said. “The Toronto Raptors are happy to play defense. You should see the joy on their faces, the way they take pride in playing defense. They don’t even care about the offensive end. They say, ‘OK, we can get a bucket.’ And they have depth. … So, I’m looking at this Raptors team, Greeny, and I’ve got them picked coming out of the East.”
Toronto (48-18) entered Monday with the second-best record in the East behind Milwaukee (54-13), with Boston (44-22) occupying the third seed.