The NBA on Thursday rescinded one of the two technical fouls assessed to Celtics center Kendrick Perkins in Boston's loss to Orlando in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night, meaning Perkins will be available to play in Friday's Game 6.
The NBA took back the second of the two technicals, which occurred with 36.1 seconds remaining in the first half and resulted in Perkins' automatic ejection. Referee Eddie F. Rush tagged Perkins with the technical for arguing a foul call.
That call had also given Perkins seven technical fouls in the playoffs, which by league rules results in an automatic one-game suspension.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the team was happy, but not surprised that the NBA rescinded a technical foul and said the team thought both should have been taken off the books.
"Obviously, we're happy about it, but also a little disappointed that both technicals were not rescinded," said Rivers. "Both should have been. I'm very surprised that they were not. I'll take one, but hopefully we can keep working on the other ones. I think it's the right decision. Unfortunately, we can't get those calls back and it clearly hurt us in Game 5 not having Perk out on the floor."
Perkins now has six technical fouls for the postseason, one shy of the threshold that brings a one-game suspension. A one-game ban would follow for every other technical thereafter. Given that five of Perkins' six technicals have come from offsetting double technicals assessed to him and an opponent, Rivers has campaigned the past two days for the system to be changed -- given the difference between certain technical fouls.
Rivers stressed that Perkins needs to stay aggressive and not play tentatively, particularly against Dwight Howard, who Rivers said has been the most physical player in the series.
"We're very concerned [by Perkins' six technicals], but Kendrick has to be allowed to play, he has to be allowed to be physical," said Rivers. "It's amazing how this [series] has gone so far. Kendrick has been in foul trouble and he's not the most physical player on the court -- that's Dwight Howard. I keep telling him, be as physical as Dwight and he says, 'Yeah, but I end up in foul trouble.' We're just trying to get Perk to be Perk, not to be concerned with fouls and technicals. But that's very difficult to do."
Perkins picked up his first technical Wednesday for what appeared to be an inadvertent elbow to the body of Marcin Gortat in the first half. Both players were assessed technicals.
The ruling by the NBA has to come as a relief to the Celtics, who face the possibility of playing Game 6 without forward Glen Davis, who suffered a concussion Wednesday.
Perkins, who didn't earn his first technical until Game 5 of a first-round triumph over the Miami Heat, has now been tagged as part of five double technicals, the majority coming in the conference semifinals when it often got heated between him and Shaquille O'Neal.
The Celtics have been assessed a whopping 20 technical fouls this postseason, continuing a trend of donations to the league that happened often during the regular season.
Perkins finished with 15 technical fouls for the 2009-10 regular season, tied with Howard for the most in the league and one shy of the mark when one-game suspensions begin.
Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.