Kendrick Perkins, despite an exterior that suggests he’d be the absolute last person you’d want to meet in a dark alley, has some jokes.
Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins wears a perpetual scowl.
Even when he’s joking.
Asked if it bothered him to receive six stitches in the lip courtesy of an elbow from Cleveland Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal, Perkins said, “I look at it like I’m already ugly.”
The scowl remained.
Does the scowl ever NOT remain? I doubt it. I envision Perkins living life with his scowl. His baby just took her first steps? Bam, there’s Perk watching with a scowl. Perk proposed to his wife? Obviously done with a scowl. He eats a bowl of cereal, and gets to the toy inside? Scowl. What’d you expect, a smile?
The day Perk wins Survivor, The Bachelor, America’s Top Model and American Idol all on the same day — and, believe me, that day will soon come — he will still have a scowl. So I’m not too surprised he had one on his face when he jokingly called himself ugly.
Thankfully for the Celtics, there’s also a serious side to Perk. After completely owning Jermaine O’Neal in the first round, Perk has now set his sights on obliterating the Old Diesel. So far, so good.
O’Neal is averaging 10.0 points a game in the Eastern Conference semifinal series, tied at 1-1 entering Game 3 Friday night in Boston (7 ET, ESPN), but shooting 36.4% (8-for-22) from the field. Perkins is averaging 9.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks and shooting 69.2%.
Boston coach Doc Rivers acknowledged it’s a tough assignment, even if O’Neal is 38.
“Dealing with Shaq is no fun,” Rivers said. “I’m amazed when people talk about Shaq in a way that he can’t play at all. Shaq’s a pain.”
Perkins’ defense has provided relief.
“I don’t know if there’s a better on-man defender than ‘Perk’ guarding his own guy at the five spot,” Rivers said.
Perkins has the scouting report on O’Neal memorized. “The biggest thing with Shaq is don’t let him get deep post-ups. Try to fight him as much as you can. Make him score over the top. No dunks. No layups,” Perkins said.
Sorry Shaq. But to beat him, you’re going to have to make him smile. And to make him smile, you’re going to have to be willing to die yourself.