ORLANDO, Fla. — Kendrick Perkins was thrown out. Glen Davis was knocked out, then needed referee Joey Crawford to keep him from tumbling to the court.
Strange doings left the Boston Celtics' frontcourt precariously thin after Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
By game's end, all three of Boston's primary centers were gone, a variety of reasons sending them away before the conclusion of Orlando's 113-92 season-saving win. The Celtics, who still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2, have wasted two chances to clinch a spot in the NBA finals and will try yet again to finish the Magic off when the series returns to Boston on Friday night.
Question is, when Game 6 rolls around, who will Boston have to match up with center Dwight Howard?
"Well, it's not a pleasant thought," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
Perkins is facing a suspension.
Davis was diagnosed with a concussion.
Rasheed Wallace tweaked his back.
Not good signs, not at all, for a team trying to avoid becoming the first club in NBA history to take a 3-0 lead and not win a series. They're halfway to history on that front.
"Point blank. I ain't speaking. I'm all right. I'll be back next game," Davis said, marching through a parting wall of reporters huddled around his stall in the locker room, then shouting an expletive.
When the Celtics' locker room opened, Perkins was gone, and Wallace later declined interview requests.
The mood was glum, to no one's surprise. A series that once looked like a Boston runaway might be running away from the Celtics.
"We need to win one game," Rivers said, "and let's hope it's the next one."
Perkins was ejected with 36 seconds left in the first half after picking up two technicals in less than 2 minutes. Perkins and Howard were jostling in the post, and Perkins was whistled for his third personal. He outstretched his arms and protested the call demonstrably, not an uncommon sight for the Celtics' starting center, and referee Eddie F. Rush apparently decided he went too far.
Rush called the technical, Perkins looked on with an expression of stunned disbelief, then slowly shuffled to the other end of the court and eventually through the tunnel to the Boston locker room. Perkins' first technical came after he and Orlando's Marcin Gortat were both whistled with 2:15 left in the half.
"Didn't think he deserved either one," Rivers said.
Perkins' ejection came after his sixth and seventh technicals of the postseason, which under NBA rules merits an automatic one-game suspension, though the league will review the calls and has the authority to rescind either or both of the techs if it sees fit. The NBA said it would have an answer Thursday about Perkins' status for Game 6.
"We've put ourselves in that position," Rivers said. "And like I told our guys, you can't make any excuses."
Davis' situation is out of the league's control. He was diagnosed with a concussion, and there was no immediate word on the severity.
He was hurt as Howard maneuvered near the basket with about 22 seconds left in the third quarter. Howard's left elbow struck Davis in the face, and Davis began staggering, falling to the floor and staying down on his back for a few seconds.
The 289-pound Davis tried to get up, taking a few steps before falling again as play continued on the other end of the court. When he finally got to his feet, he was clearly without his bearings, staggering sideways before Crawford stepped in front of him and tried to wrap his arms around the massive man.
"Never want to see anybody, especially a friend, go down like that," Howard said.Comment on this story
Davis was tended to on the court, sat up, then walked to the Celtics' bench with 9.7 seconds left in the quarter. He remained there for about two minutes, before walking toward the Boston locker room for evaluation, and the concussion diagnosis was announced shortly afterward.
Also concussed was Celtics reserve Marquis Daniels, who — like Davis — was briefly unconscious in the second half.
"He ain't talking," Boston backup Nate Robinson said after the game, shooing reporters away from Daniels' locker.