Thursday, December 4, 2008

Technical fouls as an indicator of passion

A lot has been made about the rate Boston players have been accumulating technical fouls.

Kendrick Perkins (pictured here with Doc Rivers), KG, and Paul Pierce all rank among the NBA's top 15 technical foul leaders.

Through 20 games, Perkins has nine technical fouls, Garnett and Pierce each have three, and Leon Powe, who is also in the top 25, has two.

According to Celtic players, many of the fouls are strategic.

"We initiate a lot of the noise talking," said Perkins. "That's just how we are. That's how we play. Guys are trying to get at us, so we're going to try to get at them first."

Says Pierce:

"I use it to get in my opponent's head. I use it to frustrate my opponent, sort of like what Larry Bird used to do in the day and Michael (Jordan) did. I use it more as a tactic. It's a strategy I use. I use it in practice sometimes and Coach gets mad at me."

According to Ray Allen, technicals are a sign that a team is engaged emotionally:

"I like the aggression. It's like getting a three-second call on defense. You'd rather be leading the league knowing that everybody is coming to help as opposed to nobody is every getting in the lane. It's the same thing with technicals. You know guys are out there and passionate and playing hard."

BOS coach Doc Rivers like the emotion, but understands there's a downside, describing it as "emotional sabotage," which this article defines as "being so emotional that you let it ruin the way you play."

"You want [players like Perkins] to be emotional, but you don't want him to have what we call 'emotional sabotage.' That's what happens at times. He has to be able to be emotional, but he can't allow his emotions to be sabotaged. We're an emotional team, that's part of our makeup. We can't get it to the point where we're getting techs, but you can't legislate guys having energy and fun with each other."