Thunder forward Kevin Durant will replace Atlanta's Joe Johnson (injured left knee) in the Three-Point Contest on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, Fla.
NBA commissioner David Stern named Boston point guard Rajon Rondo as Johnson's replacement on the Eastern Conference team.
Rondo did not play during Wednesday night's 119-104 loss to the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena because he was serving the second game of a two-game suspension for flinging a ball at a referee Sunday night.
“When you get named as an All-Star, they should take a one-game suspension away,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “He's having a heckuva birthday (Rondo turned 26 Wednesday) — to give them $250,000 (in lost salary due to the suspension) and he gets to make the All-Star team.”
Durant has coaches shaking their heads on how to defend him, and Rivers is no different.
“There's never been a Kevin Durant – ever, I don't think,” Rivers said. “I don't think there's ever been a comparison. I really don't, unless you say, 'George Gervin, but 5-inches taller.' … He's 7-feet tall. He's running around like a 2 guard. He can handle to ball. He can take your off the dribble. He can post you up. He can shoot over you. You can't trap him because he sees over you.
“I know coaching-wise, there's never been a more difficult guy to prepare for, because you really feel like you're wasting your time doing it. He's going to probably score anyway. He's a great player. Seems like a great kid, I don't know that. That's what you hear and if that's true, that's phenomenal.”
Durant finished with 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists and four steals in 40 minutes.
SAME OLD PERKINS
Former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins has expressed frustration with the overall quality of his play, but that's nothing new to Rivers.
“Perk and I talk all the time,” Rivers said. “The best part about Perk is he's always going to be frustrated. Really, that's the best part of him because he cares so much and he wants to do well and he wants to do well for his team. When we won a title, Perk wasn't happy every day. He wants to do more. He wants to do better. He's hard on himself, and he's hard on his teammates and you don't ever want that to change.”