Rivers on Perk: It's going to happen

Updated: June 2, 2010, 12:35 AM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers is bracing for the worst and hoping for the best.

He knows his big, physical, technical-foul prone center, Kendrick Perkins, isn't going to change. Nor does Rivers want him to.

Perkins
Perkins

So the Boston Celtics coach said Tuesday that he's beginning the Finals with the thought that he could lose Perkins at some point, as he did in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, due to technical fouls.

"It's going to happen. I hope it doesn't, but you know it's going to happen," Rivers said before the Celtics practiced on Tuesday at UCLA. "Perk is physical; the Lakers are saying they want to be physical now. So the refs are going to react to that."

At Monday's Lakers practice, coach Phil Jackson had addressed the issue.

"Those things I think should be wiped out -- flagrant fouls, technical fouls," Jackson said. "It just means the longer you've been in the playoffs, the more penalized you are. It seems like that's not a really good code right now."

He added that the Lakers weren't as physical as the Celtics. "I mean, that's not our kind of team," he said. "We don't go out there to smack people around. We're a more resilient ballclub. We try to stay strong and play hard. But we're going to have to withstand some of that."

"What's going to happen is there's going to be a double technical that Perk doesn't deserve and we're going to have to deal with it. It's unfair, but that's the way it is," Rivers said.

Rivers added that he doesn't fault NBA officials for calling double technical fouls. He just doesn't think they should lead to suspensions in the same way flagrant fouls do.

"I don't think you should be suspended for double technicals," Rivers said. "Obviously flagrants should absolutely. If you get seven flagrants, if you cuss the refs out seven times, then maybe. But double technicals, no. Because when two guys get tangled up, they never know who started it so they just call it on both.

"If Perk is as physical as [Lakers coach] Phil Jackson says he is, usually it's Perk being physical and the other guy retaliating and the retaliation is the foul and unfortunately Perk gets the tech. It's just not right but it's part of our league and we'll deal with it," said Rivers.

Perkins was ejected from Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals after he picked up two technical fouls, one of which was later rescinded. Because he's picked up six technicals during the playoffs, his next technical foul will force him out of the Celtics' next game.

"I'm focused," Perkins said. "I've got a lot of people reminding me to stay calm, so I'm cool. I don't want to think about it [getting suspended]. Hopefully I don't."

Ramona Shelburne is a writer and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

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