Heisler: Celtics are the ones crying now

Trade of Perkins leaves a sizable hole in the middle as East lead disappears

March 20, 2011|By Mark Heisler, Tribune Newspapers

Looks like the Heat worked out their issues with big teams, last shots and being crybabies, huh?

Of course, when someone goes up, someone goes down …

Meet the Celtics!

After losing at home to the Clippers last week, coach Doc Rivers noted, "No one cried; we're OK."

By the time they lost back-to-back to the 76ers and Nets, Doc had cranked the spin up so high, press people were toppling over.

"It doesn't bother me unless they're going to start to have back-to-backs in the playoffs," Rivers said.

With their 41/2-game lead over the Bulls gone and a harder schedule (games in New York, San Antonio, Chicago and Miami), while there are no back-to-backs in the playoffs, there may be more on the road.

So why did they trade Kendrick Perkins for Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green again?

If GM Danny Ainge was playing Red Auerbach, rebuilding while contending, he was counting on injured Shaquille O'Neal, whose return date Rivers just pushed back to "don't expect him anytime soon."

With Krstic, the Celtics are no longer huge and physical as Rajon Rondo, Perkins' little buddy, skulks around.

With Perkins saying Rivers told him he fought the deal, Doc confirmed stopping one version. Calling it "the most difficult thing I've had to do since I've been in the league," Rivers said: "We all decided to make the trade, but for me, it hurt."

It has only begun to hurt.

Be careful what you wish for: The Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, who torpedoed the Nuggets' hopes in the Western Conference, is hurt by his former teammates rejoicing at going 9-3 since he left.

When eight of them scored in double figures in a 30-point rout of the Pistons, J.R. Smith said: "We can count on one hand how many times that happened before the trade."

Said Anthony: "I really think they kind of don't want me to have success in New York, the way I look at it."

If so, they're kind of getting their wish with the Knicks a disappointing 7-7 since acquiring Anthony.

"It's great (the fans) care," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Take some Prozac or something. We're pedaling as fast as we can pedal."

Pack it in: While ownership ponders the fate of the Sacramento/Los Angeles Kings of Anaheim, there's a blank wall on what was once Arco Arena with the old lettering gone and Power Balance holding off putting up its name.

The Sacramento Bee reported the team filed for trademark protection for new names, including "Anaheim Royals of Southern California" and "Orange County Royals."

Wrote NBA Confidential's Sam Amick: "You can practically hear the moving vans rolling in."

Heat index: LeBron James, laughing at the suggestion the Heat need to finish 14-0 after losing in Oklahoma City: "What is this, March Madness?" ... Before Dwight Howard said Kobe Bryant was the All-Star he'd most like to play with, James was asked the same question at last season's All-Star Game. "Chris Bosh," he said.

mheisler@tribune.com

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