The Lakers out-rebounded the Celts 52-39 in Game 6, but the differential was much worse before Doc waved the red flag and sent in the reserves. Although Boston was getting beaten on the boards before Perk went down, his absence, both mentally and physically, absolutely crippled the Celtics rebounding effort. So now, with his status up in the air, how do the Celtics prepare to play without him? What can they do differently to avoid a repeat of last night's embarrassment?
Well, I think it starts with who Doc picks to replace Perk in the starting five. The two choices are pretty clear. He can either go with Rasheed Wallace or Glen "Big Baby" Davis. Sheed, combined with KG, would match up well defensively with L.A.'s size and strength, but Wallace would really have to step up his hustle and energy. I can only imagine how frustrated he must be with some of the fouls the idiot officials have called on him. Unfortunately for Sheed and the rest of the Celtics, he has a reputation as a complainer. He does, however, stretch the floor on offense and provides a post presence, something Boston did not have in Game 6. I don't think Sheed would win or lose the game for Boston. If Doc starts Sheed and the rest of the team plays well at both ends of the court, they can win.
Personally, I think Doc goes with Sheed, but Davis may very well play more minutes off the bench between Sheed's conditioning and probable foul trouble. Just like in the Game 5 win, it's going to take a team effort to clear the boards Thursday night if the C's want to become champions again. KG, Rondo, and Pierce will all have to play big minutes and I'd like to see Doc shorten up the rotation. Barring serious foul trouble, Shelden Williams need to stay on the bench, as do 'Quis and Finley. I would rather see Sheed or Baby foul out in the fourth than deal with Shelden's disastrous play for select minutes.
All in all, it's going to be tough. My personal vibe is Perk won't be able to play. There have been mixed reports, but none of them have been overly hopeful. It's almost fitting that Boston would have to win without Perk. They've fought adversity throughout this historic playoff run. Thursday night, we'll see if they can do it one more time. Stephen Bailey 6/16/2010 11:41:00 AM Tweet