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.
"Sheed is going to be all right. I'm pretty sure it's not the first time he's been in this situation, so he should know how to handle himself," Perkins said. "I'm going to make sure I tell him that today, though, when I see him. When we get out on the court I'm going to remind him."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he won't encourage his players to try to draw out another technical, even though it could cost the Celtics the services of a big man in a series where size has been crucial: The team that's won the rebounding battle has won every game.
"That's not fair play. That's not the way to play games," Jackson said.