The Heat don’t need Kendrick Perkins’ belief to beat the Celtics

The Boston Celtics-Miami Heat series has called for many hot takes over the last week, even some freezing cold takes, including comments by ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins.
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Following Sunday’s Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics to open the first round of the postseason, it was looking bleak for the Miami Heat. They suffered a 20-point blowout and several key players struggled offensively. This most notably included Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin, who finished the game with 11 and four points, respectively. 

Being without Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier’s offense, the Heat simply needed more from their starting backcourt. 

The game poured in lots of media criticism, but uncoincidentally from a pair of two former Celtics players. Firstly, there was Brian Scalabrine, who claimed the Heat’s foul on Martin against Jayson Tatum late in the fourth quarter of Game 1 was “bush league.” Saying that coach Erik Spoelstra’s late-game timeout being down by a large amount was a "code red" to get his team to finish the game out by “sending a message” with bad intentions.

In reality, Martin went for a rebound and was pushed by Celtic’s Jrue Holiday into Tatum's body while he was in the air. But Scalabrine saw it differently and said Martin tried to take out an airborne Tatum. Former 20-year Heat veteran Udonis Haslem had his own opinion about this ridiculous claim and fired back at him on social media.

That’s when Scalabrine attempted to retract his initial statement.

The Boston-biased media remarks didn’t end there, as ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins chimed in with arguably an even more questionable statement following Game 1’s outcome.

The irony of all this is that just a few days later, the Heat upset the Celtics in Boston and tied the series up 1-1, stealing home-court advantage. And yes, Miami did not even shoot close to 100% and still got the win, making a series sweep impossible. The Heat went 49% from the field and 53% from 3-point range.

More recently, Perkins went on NBA countdown again and argued that the Heat are "missing" their best two players from their playoff run a year ago in Butler and Gabe Vincent.

The only problem is that with a roster that sports Bam Adebayo, there is no possible way that Vincent could have been a top-two player. He came up huge in crucial moments and provided consistent two-way capabilities, but he was a role player. Some could argue that Vincent wasn't even better than Martin, Max Strus and Kyle Lowry in last year's postseason.

Perkins has a storied history of flip-flopping on his cold takes on national television; a lot of the times involving the Heat.

Earlier in the season when the team suffered a seven-game losing streak, Perkins jumped the gun on ESPN and mentioned that Miami needs to look into trading Jimmy Butler. Noting that Butler deserves to be somewhere where he can properly contend with more talent around him during the next couple of years of his championship window.

The Heat responded to that losing streak by winning four of their next five games and nine of their next eleven.

This was when Perkins went back on television to switch up and give off the “here comes the Heat” type of energy. It is unknown if the shorthanded Heat’s Game 2 win against the Celtics will spark a competitive series and another potential deep playoff run. But if they do, it is a safe bet to assume that Perkins will shortly be hitting everyone with his classic “goons from Dade County” propaganda. 

Being a former champion with Boston back in 2008 has been the highlight of Perkins' career. However, he hasn’t accomplished anything individually outside of a team-wide championship ring, yet he gets to speak on a nationally televised stage years later. It has become pretty clear that he has a bias toward his old Celtics squad, something that was similar to Paul Pierce during his short analyst time on the NBA countdown.

Outlets like ESPN and TNT tend to award several former players analyst positions following the end of their NBA careers. Most of the time, this works out great, with relatable and brilliant basketball minds getting a chance to speak out. People have seen this with JJ Redick, Richard Jefferson, Reggie Miller, Tim Legler, Matt Barnes, Jalen Rose, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.

Unfortunately for Perkins, he is not in that same category.