HH Tournament: (1) Larry Bird vs (16) Kendrick Perkins


Larry Bird and Kendrick Perkins is the next first round matchup in the Hardwood Houdini Tournament

Dennis Johnson was able to edge out Reggies Lewis in yesterday’s matchup. He will take on Bob Cousy in round 2, which concludes all the first round matchups on side A. Today we start with Side B!

Don’t forget that this is based solely off their playing careers with the Boston Celtics. Any coaching or front office experience shouldn’t be taken into account, neither should their collegiate careers or any other NBA teams they may have played for.

Larry Bird – 1998 Hall of Fame Inductee

24.3 PPG, 10 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.7 SPG

13 Seasons with Boston, 3x Champion, 12x All-Star, Rookie of the Year, 3x MVP, #33 Retired by Celtics

Larry Bird is arguably the greatest small forward in NBA history. When discussing the best all-around players of all-time, it’s impossible to make a list without including Bird. He simply did it all. The sixth overall pick in 1978 out of Indiana State was a star from the start. As a rookie he averaged an insane 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.7 steals per game as he was named to the All-Star team and All-NBA First Team as a rookie.

In fact, Bird was named an All-Star 12 of 13 seasons. The lone time he missed the All-Star team was in 1988-89 when only played six games all season. Pair that with his historic rivalry against Magic Johnson and the showtime Lakers and his trash talking, and Bird was one of the most fun players to watch. He didn’t have the same dominating championship run that Bill Russell had, although he still won three championships for the Celtics and was part of some of the greatest NBA Finals ever.

Individually, Bird was named to 10 All-NBA Teams, three All-Defensive Teams and won three league MVPs. Plus, he led the league in free-throw shooting four times, as he shot an insane 88.6 percent from the line over his 13-year career.

At the time, there was no better shooter than Bird. In an era where he led the league in three-point attempts with 82 and 90 in a season, Bird was the most dominating shooter the league had ever seen during his prime. He shot above 40 percent from deep in five of his final seven NBA seasons and shot a career-high 42.7 percent from three in 1984-85.

When it comes down to it, the only thing you can say about Larry Legend is that he did it all. He scored, rebounded, passed, played defense, was a good teammate, he did it all.

He ranks top-10 in Celtics history in nearly every category: games played, minutes played, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, points, etc.

He was part of one of the greatest teams ever formed in 1985-86, and there has never been another Larry Bird since. You can make the argument that LeBron James is the greatest small forward of all-time, but when looking back at Bird’s career, it’s tough to say that any player was as big of a contributor in every facet of the game as he was.

Kendrick Perkins – 2008 NBA Champion

6.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.4 BPG

8 Seasons with Boston, 1x Champion

After being selected 23rd overall in 2003 by the Memphis Grizzlies, Perkins was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics. He didn’t surpass 20 minutes a night until his fourth season, although in season five he became the normal starting center alongside Kevin Garnett and helped bring the Celtics a championship.

Perkins has never put up huge numbers, though. 2009-10 was the only season he averaged double-digit points as he barely reached that mark by scoring 10.1 points per game. Although, in 2008-09, Perkins had his best season with the Celtics, averaging 8.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and two blocks per game.

The Celtics used Perkins’ big body as an anchor in the paint on defense and on the glass. He never averaged more than seven shots per game with Boston, rather he was their rim protector during their championship run. In fact, for five straight seasons Perkins blocked at least 1.5 shots per contest. Although during their 2008 championship run, Perkins blocked 1.3 shots per game, while leading the playoffs in personal fouls.

Perkins biggest highlight of his career came in the playoffs a year later. He stepped up and contributed a double-double. 11.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game over 14 games proved to be the best stretch of his career, and cemented his role as the team’s enforcer in the paint – who did all the dirty work.

Surprisingly, Perkins was never named to an All-Defensive Team in his career. Playing alongside Garnett could have taken away from his dominance on that end of the floor, although there was no denying the work he did on that end of the court.

Perkins still ranks top-10 in offensive and defensive rebounds, and blocks in Celtics history. Plus, his 56.6 field-goal percentage is the best in Celtics history.

Perkins won’t be remembered for big statistical games, but he was an important piece to the Celtics championship run. An unsung hero that was a factor on the glass and a defensive anchor really gave the Celtics flexibility on that end of the floor, and will always be a fan favorite in Boston.

Don’t forget to vote on Twitter @HoudiniCeltics! The poll is up for 20 hours. Comments on here don’t count as votes, only the poll on Twitter will be looked at to determine who goes on to round two.

Next: Area of Improvement for Each Starter

Also, look at tomorrow’s match-up to see the results from today’s showdown.