Posted January 15, 2012 on
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Oklahoma City Thunder
Golden State Warriors
Kendrick Perkins said it "felt like the worst day of my life" when he got traded away by the Boston Celtics.
As it turns out, he may have gotten out just in time - and moved to one of the best possible situations.
Perkins returns to Boston with the surging Oklahoma City Thunder to face his former team for the first time Monday night, and the aging Celtics are in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
These clubs surprised the league with their deal just before the deadline last season, with Boston sending Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. Perkins will be the only one of those four in this game, with Robinson having moved on to Golden State, Green recovering from heart surgery and Krstic playing in Russia.
Perkins, who spent seven-plus seasons with the Celtics and was the starting center on the 2008 NBA championship squad, said he was initially devastated by the trade but felt differently upon arriving in Oklahoma City.
"It kind of felt like the worst day of my life when I got traded from the C's, from being there so long. But when I got here, it kind of took my mind away from everything, I think, and everything just kind of blew me away," Perkins said last March. "It was kind of the worst but best day."
The Celtics' chemistry was negatively affected by the trade, with Kevin Garnett saying at the time that "you feel like you lost a family member." Boston was trying to piece together a roster for another title run, but it lost in five games to Miami in the conference semifinals.
Now, it appears the veteran-laden team's window is closing fast. Another loss Monday would give the Celtics (4-7) their first five-game losing streak and first four-game home skid since Garnett and Ray Allen arrived to join Paul Pierce in 2007.
They lost 97-83 at Indiana on Saturday, prompting Pacers leading scorer Danny Granger to wonder if Boston's stars are simply too old.
"One thing you can't battle, you can't fight, is age," Granger said. "They all are Hall of Famers, but you get to a point where age catches up with you and it's hard to compete at the level you once competed at. I don't know if they're there yet. They still could bounce back this season."
The condensed schedule, however, may be making things even tougher for the Celtics' veterans. Coach Doc Rivers said he had a bad feeling about Saturday's game just by looking at the schedule, which had Boston facing Chicago on Friday - an 88-79 defeat.
The young Thunder (11-2) are handling the frequent basketball just fine. They won three games in as many nights earlier this month, starting a six-game winning streak that continued with Saturday's 104-92 victory over New York.
Oklahoma City used a familiar formula, getting a combined 73 points from Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Durant and Westbrook didn't even play in the fourth quarter of a game far more lopsided than the final score.
"You don't go into a game thinking that the starters will not play in the last quarter but it's always nice," coach Scott Brooks said.
All three of the club's offensive stars rank in the top 25 in scoring, while Perkins has provided a strong defensive presence inside.
That was also the key component he brought the Celtics. Boston still wonders whether it would have won another title if Perkins hadn't injured his knee during Game 6 of the 2010 finals against the Lakers, missing a narrow Game 7 loss.
Now, his new club looks primed for a championship run, leading the Western Conference and looking to improve to 6-1 on the road. The Thunder are also seeking a third straight victory in Boston after winning there last season despite Durant sidelined due to a sore ankle.
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Kendrick Perkins returned to Boston tonight for the first time since “the trade” last season. CLNS Radio’s Jared Weiss is at the TD Garden tonight covering the game between the Celtics and Thunder for CLNS Radio. During the first quarter the Celtics played a tribute for Kendrick Perkins on the jumbotron. J-Weiss managed to capture [...]
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Perkins admits coming back to Boston is bittersweet. He's happy in Oklahoma City ("Our locker room is locked in," Perkins said) but admits a part of him believes those Celtics teams had unfinished...
Kendrick Perkins addressing the media before the Thunder’s 88-79 win over the Celtics.
ESPN Boston's Chris Forsberg posted this to his YouTube page and it shows the video played inside the TD Garden during the first timeout of the game honoring Kendrick Perkins. Kudos to the crowd for giving Perk a much-deserved standing ovation.
BOSTON -- Russell Westbrook hit a 3-pointer and then shimmied his hands down his torso, bent his body at the knees and strutted down the sideline in celebration. Just 39 seconds later -- this time with less than a minute left in the game -- he did it all over again. Westbrook scored 26 points, including two of Oklahoma City's four 3-pointers in the final two minutes, to help...
A humble Kendrick Perkins said yesterday he has no idea how he’ll be received by Celtics fans tonight in his return to TD Garden with the Thunder.
Last time Kendrick Perkins met Kevin Garnett and the rest of the Celtics team on the court we were a serious contender. We had beaten the Lakers, the Heat and were having quite a successful season.
The problem then was who would be the starting center for us. We had Shaq, Jermaine, Semih and Perkins. We had been beaten by the Lakers in the previous Finals because of the lack of...
OKC Thunder Reporter Darnell Mayberry spoke to Kendrick Perkins the night before he makes his return to the TD Garden floor, this time as the opposition and not as a Celtic. Perk had some really moving things to say before he takes on his old team.
“It's been a lot of different thoughts going
through my head,” Perkins said. “You don't want to be too emotional...
The Celtics lost their fifth straight game to the Thunder tonight 97-88. It was Kendrick Perkins first return to the Garden since being traded last February. Boston had made the game close in the second half, however in the end they could not finish the deal.
Paul Pierce led the team with 24 points. Rajon Rondo had 12 points and nine assists. The Thunder were led by, no big surprise...
It’s going to be weird. With all due respect to Jeff Green, nobody in the Boston locker room wanted the Kendrick Perkins trade to go down. Perk was part of the family, part of the foundation, part of the reason there is banner 17 at the Boston Garden. Celtics fans didn’t like it much either,…
In a nationally televised game, the Boston Celtics will attempt to snap their four game skid and notch their first win versus a winning team this season. Oh! And did I mention we will be welcoming Kendrick Perkins back to TD Garden as well? The Celtics Late Night Show crew will host CLNSRadio’s Celtics Postgame [...]
Early in last night’s game, the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo drove to the basket, and Thunder center Kendrick Perkins flattened the speedy point guard.
Doc Rivers said Kendrick Perkins has borrowed from Kevin Garnett's playbook.
Listen to internet radio with CLNSRadio on Blog Talk Radio In a nationally televised game, the Boston Celtics will attempt to snap their four game skid and notch their first win versus a winning team this season. Oh! And did I mention we will be welcoming Kendrick Perkins back to TD Garden as well? The [...]