By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA is the best. And that’s without even accounting for the actual sport.
Yes, the NBA has some pretty good on-court action when it comes to clutch 3’s, vicious dunks, and all the rest of it. But sports are sports, and you can get that kind of action anywhere.
Where the NBA really sets itself apart is in its ability to host some of the most bizarre beefs in world history. They’re often delightful.
Despite just two games on the playoff schedule on Tuesday night, we all saw two such beefs playing out — one on the court, and one off it. Both involved former Celtics known for their temperamental demeanors. More accurately, one is known for his short fuse, and the other is known for his lovable scowl. (Though, “lovable” may depend on your position in a particular matter.)
First, there was Kendrick Perkins, who was not active for the Cavaliers but was nevertheless wearing his finest suit for Game 1 in Toronto. Sitting courtside, of course, was rapper and Raptors superfan Drake. As the teams headed to the locker rooms for halftime, Drake and Perkins exchanged words. It was not friendly.
At that point in the game, the Raptors led 60-57. Drake might have been feeling good. But after the Raptors kind of blew it in the second half before losing in overtime by a point, Drake was a little angry.
And so was Kendrick Perkins. Because when he’s on a basketball court, Kendrick Perkins is always a little angry.
Perkins let Drake know some things. After Perkins was plenty far away, Drake rolled into the picture to talk back:
Drake is not a tiny guy by any stretch — the internet says he’s about 6 feet and 170 pounds — but that’s a matchup he would want no part of. Perk is 6-foot-10 and 270 pounds of pure muscle. He could probably do some things to Aubrey Drake Graham that Aubrey Drake Graham wouldn’t really like.
Perkins told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski how it all started.
“What happened was I was talking to my old teammate Serge (Ibaka) walking into halftime telling him ‘We about to win this game,’” Perkins shared. “And Drake butted in talking [poop] to me. So I said something back to him.”
Perkins described it similarly to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin: “I was [messing] with Serge, my old teammate. I wasn’t talking to [Drake]. He said something slick so I said something back: ‘Sit your ass down and watch the game.’”
That was a pretty fun little spat, and it led to some quality online jokes.
‘Twas a classic NBA moment, but it turned out to just be the undercard on Fight Night.
In the late game, the always feisty Rajon Rondo decided he was going to antagonize the antagonizer, Draymond Green. It takes a professional pain in the rear end in order to get under Green’s skin, but fortunately for Rondo, he is a professional pain in the rear end.
In Game 2 of the series between the Pelicans and Warriors, Rondo and Green squared off in the first half. It was a classic case of two guys looking eager to hit each other in a moment where obviously neither one is going to throw a punch. Punching in the NBA is frowned upon.
Now remember, back in Game 1, Rondo pulled a professional troll move by nonchalantly trying to high-five Green after Green had missed a free throw:
Knowing that a fist fight couldn’t happen, Rondo decided to once again use a Green free-throw attempt as the opportunity for his next strike. And it’s fair to say that Rondo made the most of it.
Green released a free throw, and as soon as it left his hands, Rondo was making a break toward the basket. Green made the shot, and because it was Rondo’s lucky day, the ball bounced right to him. Rondo used that opportunity to treat the basketball like his own personal sweat towel, wiping his forehead and his entire face with the basketball before Green had to take his second shot.
You just don’t see that move too often. It’s kind of disgusting all around. But if you’re grading the troll level on some of these things? That’s an A-plus.
The Warriors ended up winning, 121-116, to take a 2-0 series lead. Green had 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.
“I live for playoff basketball,” Green said after the win. “It’s the most fun time of the year for me.”
The same goes for all of us. The NBA is the best.