[photogallerylink id=22653 align=right]Kendrick Perkins was thrown out. Glen Davis was knocked out, then needed referee Joey Crawford to keep him from tumbling to the court.
Strange doings, indeed, and they left the Boston Celtics’ frontcourt precariously thin during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
By game’s end, all three of Boston’s centers were gone, not around for the conclusion of Orlando’s 113-92 season-saving win. The Celtics – who still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2- have wasted two chances to clinch a spot in the NBA finals, and will try yet again to finish Orlando off when the series returns to Boston on Friday night.
Question is, who will they have to match up with Magic star center Dwight Howard?
A big problem, for certain.
And a series that looked like a Boston runaway might be running away from the Celtics.
Perkins was ejected late in the first half after picking up two technicals in less than 2 minutes, and Davis – his backup at center – left the game and would not return after getting inadvertently elbowed by Howard late in the third quarter on Wednesday night.
Perkins was wild. Davis was woozy.
And the Celtics have to be worried – because they could be without both big men in their next game.
Perkins’ ejection came after his sixth and seventh technicals of the postseason, which under NBA rules merits an automatic one-game suspension, though the league will review the calls and has the authority to rescind if it sees fit.
Davis’ situation is out of the league’s control. He was diagnosed with a concussion, and there was no immediate word on the severity.
He was defending Howard as the Magic star maneuvered near the basket with about 22 seconds left in the third quarter. Howard’s left elbow struck Davis in the face, and Davis began staggering, falling to the floor and staying down on his back for a few seconds.
The 289-pound Davis tried to get up, taking a few steps before falling again as play continued on the other end of the court. When he finally got to his feet, he was clearly without his bearings, staggering sideways before Crawford stepped in front of him and tried to wrap his arms around the massive man.
Davis was tended to on the court, sat up, then walked to the Celtics’ bench with 9.7 seconds left in the quarter. He remained there for about two minutes, before walking toward the Boston locker room for evaluation, and the concussion diagnosis was announced shortly afterward.
Perkins was ejected with 36.1 seconds left in the half. He and Howard were jostling in the post, and Perkins was whistled for his third personal. Perkins outstretched his arms and protested the call demonstrably, not an uncommon sight for the Celtics’ starting center, and referee Eddie F. Rush apparently decided he went too far.
Rush called the technical, Perkins looked on with an expression of stunned disbelief, then slowly shuffled to the other end of the court and eventually through the tunnel to the Boston locker room.
Perkins’ first technical came after he and Orlando’s Marcin Gortat were both whistled with 2:15 left in the half. After a play was blown dead, Perkins appeared to elbow Gortat in the chest, and Gortat knocked the ball out of Perkins’ hands.
Perkins finished with two points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Boston had more big-man woes later in the game.
Rasheed Wallace, the other primary option at center, fouled out with 4:49 remaining after scoring 21 points in 18 minutes on 7 for 9 shooting. After a brief moment on the Boston bench, shuffled slowly toward the Boston locker room as well.
Little-used Shelden Williams took over at center when Wallace departed, only his second appearance in the series.