By Jimmy Golen Associated Press
BOSTON — The Boston Celtics are in foul trouble before Game 5 of the NBA finals even begins.
Both Rasheed Wallace and Kendrick Perkins have amassed six technical fouls so far in the playoffs, and their next one will earn an automatic one-game suspension. Both players are hot-tempered and known to rub referees the wrong way with complaints about calls.
“Listen, I don’t want them to be less emotional. I want them to play their games, but also have some discipline,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “That’s about all we can do.”
Perkins tied for the league lead with 15 technical fouls in the regular season, then picked up six more in the first three rounds of the playoffs. He has so far avoided any in the finals.
Wallace has been ejected 30 times in his career — the most since such records started being kept in 1992, according to STATS Inc. He entered the series against the Los Angeles Lakers with four technicals, and picked up his sixth on Thursday night.
Kobe Bryant isn’t sure yet if being he’ll be done with basketball for a while once the finals are over. Bryant has struggled with several injuries across the second half of the season, which could prevent him from playing for the United States in the world championships.
“I don’t know,” Bryant said. “I’ve got to take care of my body, so whatever shakes out of that shakes out of that.”
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo recently told the New York Post he’d heard Bryant may need knee surgery, which would make him unavailable this summer. Bryant was forced to miss the 2006 worlds for the same reason, but played two years ago on the U.S. team that won the gold medal in Beijing.
When Glen “Big Baby” Davis made a key basket in Game 4 of the NBA finals, he celebrated by walking back up court with his mouth open wide. Nate Robinson, a foot shorter and 110 pounds lighter, leaped on his back. At several moments during Boston’s 96-89 win, Celtics players stood in front of their bench and cheered their teammates on. That’s the kind of emotion Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers likes — even though it came from his opponent.
“It’s part of the game,” Artest said Saturday. “I think they’re like the last team left that plays like that. The NBA is slowly trying to not have that many antics or taunting or whatever you want to call it, but I grew up playing like that, so it’s kind of cool.”
AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney and Sports Writer Howard Ulman contributed to this story.