There might have been some shell-shock involved in the Boston Celtics' loss to the Denver Nuggets Thursday night. Having lost Kendrick Perkins in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier in the day, the Celtics sound like they were at a wake after the Nuggets' game, not inside a locker room. From the Boston Herald:
"It's not even about a teammate," said Kevin Garnett. "You feel like you lost a family member today. Tough day."
Added Paul Pierce, "It was very emotional, especially for me being that I had a chance to see Perkins grow up from Day 1 fresh out of high school seeing him get to the level he got to on a championship team."
Perkins spent his entire adult life with the Celtics, making his Boston debut days after turning 19 years old. Pierce was the only player who'd been a Celtic from Perkins' rookie season onward, with Rajon Rondo joining in 2005-06 and the rest of the core coming in 2007.
Rarely do non-stars hang with one team, losing seasons and championships and all, as long as Perkins stayed in Boston. Especially preps-to-pros roleplayers -- stability is not a feature of the NBA lifestyle. But Perk and the Celtics, and now it's gone, and I'm not sure Pierce and the others are going to recover any time soon.
So let us remember the great Kendrick Perkins moment of all-time: when he brought his infant son to the bench during the clinching moments of the 2008 NBA Finals, when there was still a game going on. (There seems to be no video proof of this on YouTube. But it happened! Perk introduced Doc Rivers, who was drenched in Gatorade and coaching a team in the NBA Finals, to his infant son.)