"The Boston Celtics might go to Game 7 without center Kendrick Perkins.
He landed awkwardly trying to haul in an offensive rebound midway through the first quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night and suffered a right knee sprain.
Perkins was hopeful, saying: "I'm going to try to give it a go [on Thursday]." But a team source told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan: "He's done."
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Don't let his modest numbers deceive you. Kendrick Perkins could be the difference between the Boston Celtics winning and losing the championship.
The NBA Finals will be decided in the paint; the team that dominates down-low will host a victory celebration, while the team that gets dominated will spend their life wondering what could've been.
Perkins - despite his limited offensive skill and affinity for arguing fouls - is a throwback. He bangs. He competes. And he intimidates.
For instance, Perkins shut Pau Gasol down in game-five, which, not coincidentally, the Celtics won. In fact, Boston's five-man was so effective experts were again calling the Spaniard soft.
Gasol, however, was far more confident when Perkins left game-six with an injury. He ate the smaller Glen Davis up. Veterans Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace weren't much better, either.
And the Los Angeles Lakers, as a team, successfully attacked the basket, in large part, because Perkins wasn't there to deter them. Guards Kobe Bryant, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown were able to get to the hoop whenever they liked.
Right now, Perkins' status is unknown for game-seven. What isn't unknown is how important he is to Boston.
Got thoughts on this?
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers emphatically extended the NBA finals to a decisive seventh game with a 89-67 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 on Tuesday night.
HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Two days ago, Kobe Bryant demanded his teammates 'man up and play'. Well, the Los Angeles Lakers - both individually and collectively - fulfilled his request on Tuesday evening.
The purple-and-gold dominated every aspect of game six, building an early lead through tough defense, infectious hustle, and inspired play. The Celtics never mounted a serious challenge and the Lakers cruised through the second half to an easy win.
The difference between games five and six was obvious: Bryant had help. Loads of it.
For instance, co-star Pau Gasol had a double-double, but - best of all - the Spaniard imposed his will down-low; Ron Artest hit shots; Lamar Odom stopped complaining about the flu and got active; and Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmar, and Sasha Vujacic provided energy off the bench.
Two specific plays stand out. First, Artest was so confident he over-dribbled and still sank an improbable fall-back shot. Second, Farmar out-hustled Celtic Rajon Rondo for a loose ball by sacrificing his body and diving on the floor.
Bryant aside, no Laker looked confident or sacrificed in game-five.
As a group, L.A. played superb defense. They challenged every shot. They provided helped. They got stops. They won the battle of the boards. And they held the Celtics to 67 points, the second lowest total in NBA Finals history.
Meanwhile, Boston resembled a team with a one game cushion. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo were outplayed by the Lakers' big guns. The bench - which had been so effective earlier in the series - looked awestruck.
Of course, Kendrick Perkins' injury didn't help. The rough and tumble post sprained his knee early in the first quarter and never returned. His status for game-seven is unknown.
With or without Perkins, the green-and-white must re-establish their presence in the paint and show greater urgency on Thursday.
In fact, the Celtics should consider Bryant's advice and 'man up'. Or the Lakers will win what has become a one game, do-or-die NBA Finals and will hoist the Larry O'Brien championship trophy.
Got thoughts on game six? And what's your prediction for Thursday's game-seven?
Now the Celtics. They led, 3-0. They let it get away, losing Game 4 in overtime. In Game 5 Wednesday in Orlando, they were spanked. When the game was finished, they had two guys with concussions, one who was ejected, and a few others hurting.
We wonder if this might be the sports god taking revenge for what the Red Sox did to the Yankees in 2004 — the 3-0 comeback to end all 3-0 comebacks. Is this Garden gag of 2010 some kind of macabre payback for the Biblical revival of the Idiotic gang, who shucked 86 years of hard-luck hardball?
Don’t go to that dark place, people. Not yet. The Celtics are going to win tonight. They have a healthy Big Three. They have Rajon Rondo ready to answer Jameer Nelson. They have Kendrick Perkins, granted a stay by the NBA’s behavior police.
HoopsVibe's Call: There's no reason to panic, but there's cause for concern in Boston.
After all, the Bruins, the city's beloved NHL team, held a 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Bruins are now golfing, while the Flyers advanced to the Stanley Cups Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Of course, the Celtics were up 3-0 and seemed on cruise control to the NBA Finals. Then the Magic appeared, winning the last two games.
Tonight, however, is do-or-die for Boston. Winning a game-seven clincher in Orlando, after dropping a 3-0 lead, might be too much, even for a veteran Celtic squad that plays air-tight defense.
Is game six a must-win for Boston? Get at us in the comment box below with thoughts.