Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Kendrick Perkins explains why Celtics are 'best team in the NBA'

The 2023-24 Celtics have finally made ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins a believer that they are the best team in the NBA.

Following the team's Christmas Day victory over their rival Los Angeles Lakers at Arena, the former Celtic center and 2008 champion -- who has been critical of Boston's title hopes this season -- is changing his tune after a successful 3-1 west coast road trip that concluded with three straight wins and back-to-back victories against the Clippers and Lake-show.
"The Celtics proved to me and the rest of the world that they're the best team in the NBA," Perkins said Tuesday on ESPN's Pat McAfee Show. "And I'm not just basing this off what they did [Monday] to the Lakers. I'm talking about the clean sweep that they had in L.A. They beat the brakes off the Clippers and then to come in and do what they did [against the Lakers].
 "Look, when I look at that starting five with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Derrick White, Jrue Holiday and [Kristaps] Porzingis -- that is so electrifying. And I know all the people, the naysayers, are saying they shoot too many 3s. I was one of them. But I'm a believer in their 3-point shooting, and I'm a believer in their perimeter defense. This team should be favored to win it all."
While the Celtics have reportedly prioritized getting bench help ahead of the February 8 trade deadline, their 126-115 win over the Lakers just proved Perkin's sudden change in sentiment that they are the league's best team. Despite Anthony Davis dropping 40 points, Boston held LeBron James to only 16 points and six players scored in double-figures for the C's led by Kristaps Porzingis' double-double of 28 points, 11 rebounds and Jayson Tatum with 25 points.
"I'm looking at this lineup when they start, quote-unquote, small, with Porzingis at the five, they're really not small, because they've got great rebounding guards," Perkins said on NBA Countdown postgame. "Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are going to hit the glass. Jrue Holiday had seven boards, right? 

"And then when I think about what they do, they're going to push the pace, they're going to attack downhill and they're going to look for those 3s, and they're going to keep shooting them, and they've got guys that can actually knock them down."
The Celtics, a league-best 23-6, have won 12 of their last 14, return to TD Garden -- where they are a perfect 14-0 -- Thursday night to host the Detroit Pistons (2-28), who have lost 27 straight.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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