July 30, 2010
For a player that came straight to the NBA from high school, Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins(notes) has always seemed like an old soul. Perhaps it's his game, all old-school and bruising. Without its charms, but quite effective, and certainly worth his status as a one-time NBA champion and one of the more respected defenders in the NBA.
Perkins wanted that second championship, though. And when he had to sit out of the last 3 1/2 quarters of Boston's Game 6 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers last season after tearing his ACL, and the deciding Game 7, it was hardly the easiest time off to bear.
Kendrick shared his frustrations with KILT radio in Houston, as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews' Chris Fedor:
Watching Game 7 from the sidelines "was probably the worst time of my life," Perkins told KILT.
"Getting all the way to the Finals, game seven, probably the most important time and I couldn't be a part of it. You know I had to watch from the sidelines. It was one of the most hurtful feelings. I thought it woulda been better if we woulda won. It woulda made things a whole lot better, but we didn't and I feel like maybe if I was in there I coulda helped. It's something that you're gonna take probably for the rest of your life, but you gotta move on and just get ready for the next season."
Ouch. Sure, he's looking forward to next year (which, due to his injury, might not even start until the next calendar year), but "something that you're gonna take probably for the rest of your life?"
I can only imagine. The C's were just a few buckets away from winning. The turning point in the game was when Pau Gasol(notes) grabbed an offensive rebound over Celtic point guard Rajon Rondo(notes), and hit a cutting Kobe Bryant(notes) for a three-point play. Any loose ball, any defensive stop, and things could change. To not be able to help your mates? Has to hurt, and as Kendrick said, it probably won't ever stop hurting.