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Celtics searching for their identity without Garnett
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/20/2009 11:57 PM

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The Celtics seem to be struggling with their identity during these first two games against the Bulls.

They still try to carry that championship swagger acquired last season. But they can't back it up as well with Kevin Garnett on the bench in street clothes.

Center Kendrick Perkins predicted Sunday that Derrick Rose would never match his Game 1 performance.

Then in Game 2 Perkins played like an angry bully, pushing and shoving under the basket as much as he could get away with, eventually totaling 16 points and 12 rebounds.

"I ain't been able to sleep in the last two nights just thinking about (Joakim) Noah and how he had 17 rebounds (in Game 1)," Perkins said after the game. "I just wanted to come out and be physical tonight and make my presence known."

Midway through the third quarter, Noah challenged a Perkins shot and was called for a foul.

While Noah glared at his adversary, Perkins raised both arms above his head in a "Rocky" style pose. But Noah was the one given a technical foul.

As the Celtics headed to the foul line, the Boston fans spent a few moments chanting, "Noah (stinks)."

Only his second NBA playoff game and already Noah has become a target of opposing fans. He must be doing his job well.