Tag:Shaquille O'Neal
Posted on: December 21, 2010 10:24 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:44 pm

Nowitzki passes Bird for 25th on NBA scoring list

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has passed Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird on the NBA's all time scoring list. Posted by Ben Golliverdirk-nowitzki

On Tuesday night, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points in a 105-99 road win over the Orlando Magic. In the process, Nowitzki moved into 25th place on the NBA's all time scoring list. At night's end, Nowitzki had 21,798 points, passing Boston Celtics Hall of Fame forward Larry Bird (21,791).  If Nowitzki continues on his current scoring pace this season, he would finish the year with more than 23,000 points, moving him past Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Gary Payton (21,813) into 23rd place. Both Adrian Dantley (23,177) and Elgin Baylor (23,149) are also possibly within reach this year.  Given that Nowitzki is just 32 years old and his scoring production has remained relatively level for the past five seasons, there is a very, very good chance that he will end his career in the top 10 of the league's all time scoring list. To do so, he'd need to reach roughly 27,000 points, which equates to a little more than 2 years (after this season) at his current pace, or 3-4 seasons at a reduced rate. Given his history as an extremely durable player, no lingering injury concerns prevent Nowitzki from playing until he is 35 or 36, and his current contract runs for three years after this season. Nowitzki's current career scoring average of 23.0 points per game is better than half of the 24 guys currently above him on the list. Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, John Havlicek, Alex English, Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Robert Parish, Kevin Garnett, Drexler, and Payton all averaged less than 23.0 points per game. The only other active players in the top 25 currently are Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal (5th place), Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (11th place) and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (22nd place). Bird had been one of only five players in the top 25 all time to achieve the mark in a career that lasted less than 1,000 games. The others: Jerry West (932 in 15th place), Allen Iverson (914, in 17th place), Dantley (955, in 20th place) and Baylor (846, in 21st place). NBA.com reports on Twitter that Bird sent Nowitzki a congratulatory text message after the game. 
Posted on: December 21, 2010 9:32 am

Shootaround: Shaq and the Boston Pops

Shaq with the Boston Pops, Magic struggle in debut, Cousins the sensitive soul, and are the Clippers actually rolling? All this and more in today's Shootaround. Posted by Matt Moore

Very quietly, Al Horford is having a stellar season. Hoopinion takes a look at how his season stacks up against Dwight Howard, and finds that Horford isn't so far off from the MVP candidate center. 

A stellar profile of DeMarcus Cousins through the lens of the support network the Kings brought in from Kentucky for him, in the form of a dude half his size

Chris Mannix of SI examines the debut of the new-look Orlando Magic and comes to the same conclusion we came to about the new-look Heat. It's going to take some time: "Orlando needs practice time. Badly. But with four games this week they won't get much of it and will have to contend with a murderers' row of games through Christmas. The Magic will host Dallas (Tuesday), San Antonio (Thursday) and Boston (Saturday). Along with Atlanta that's four talented, cohesive teams Orlando will be up against as they try to incorporate the new players into the system. Each game will undoubtedly draw a lot of attention, but expectations should be ratcheted down; this Magic team will look markedly different than the one playing in March."

So.... this happened: 

Kevin Love thinks the Wolves are immature, and that someone needs to lead them. He's willing to do the job.

Kobe's got his own mosaic at the Lower Marion high school he used to attend. It's really very sweet.  Unfortunately, the mosaic keeps screaming at everyone who does anything imperfectly. 

Not all Cavs fans are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Dan Gilbert, and one's gone so far as to take out advertising on Basketball-Reference.com to show his or her disapproval. 

Holly MacKenzie gives an insight into the shy world of Derrick Rose, even as he becomes a stronger leader each day.

Probably the best breakdown of Kris Humphries you're ever going to see. 

The Clippers have won three in a row, with two by 20 points or more. So... the Clips are actually rolling?
Posted on: December 15, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 4:27 pm

Boston's trouble with running favors Knicks

You may think that New York has little shot against the mighty Celtics Wednesday night. While Boston is the best team in the league, the evidence says they may have their hands full against the Knicks

Posted by Matt Moore

You know what Boston's point differential was last year? 3.6 points per game. They won on average by a margin of 3.6. The New York Knicks lost by average of 3.8 points last year. As the Celtics are very good and the Knicks were very not, you'd imagine that the Celtics would have blown them out, as they did the year before when their average margin of victory over the Knicks was over 12 points per game. 

Except it wasn't. It was 3.75 points per game, including one three-point loss to the Knicks, and a two-point win in overtime. This against a much lesser team than the Amare-Stoudemire and Raymond Felton led squad they're visiting this evening. 


So while Boston is very busy talking about how this is not a rivalry and everyone's laughing off talks that the Knicks are in Boston's league as the two prepare to meet Wednesday night, it should be noted that perhaps this might be a game. Why? Because Boston doesn't like run-and-gun, that's why. 

The Celtics lost twice to Amar'e's old club in Phoenix by a combined 25 points . They split with Golden State, the fastest team in the league according to pace (number of possessions per game), winning by 14 , and then losing by 10 . Boston also split with Denver (fifth in pace), Houston (sixth in pace), and Memphis (7th in pace). (They drubbed Indiana and Minnesota the second and third fastest teams, because, well, they were terrible.)

Even account for the late season swoon by the Celtics as they coasted to the playoffs, running teams have had success against Boston. The reason that becomes evident if you watched those games is that it's an overload of what Boston tries to hard to stop. Offense. There's no balance on these clubs. They simply get up and down the floor as quickly as humanly possible. Try and slow the game down to out-maneuver them and the Celtics will always be in place. The only way through is over. You have to stampede them with speed and shooting, perplex them with threes in transition and make those old legs work. 

According to 82games.com , The Celtics have played slow-pace teams ten times, and fast paced teams eight times. They're 9-1 against slow teams, and 6-2 against fast teams. Yeah, that's still an impressive win percentage, but notice that they do have more trouble (relatively speaking) against fast teams.  New York is third in pace this year

Throw in the fact that Amar'e Stoudemire is a tougher cover for Kevin Garnett than most and you've got possible problems for Boston. Stoudemire may not be a defensive stalwart, but on offense he's not soft. He's the Anti-Bosh. He's aggressive, strong, and forceful, throwing down jams and screaming with the best of them (and Garnett is the best of them). The Knicks will get pounded inside tonight by Boston's bigs, but making Shaquille O'Neal and Glen Davis romp up and down the floor will wear on them (Shaq's a game time decision right now). Ray Allen and Rondo will like the fast pace just fine, but Paul Pierce doesn't prefer it. And in the meantime, Mike D'Antoni can ratchet up the speed without concern tonight. There's no need to try and slow  down, play good defense, and play good solid traditional basketball. That's how Boston kills you. No, instead, D'Antoni can let loose the dogs of Madison Square Garden and go Four Seconds or Less. The faster the Knicks go, the better chance they have. 

Boston's been nearly unbeatable his season, so they're still the clear favorite in this game. But while conventional wisdom says that a team with as solid of a defense as Boston should dominate a trigger-happy team like the Knicks, the evidence shows otherwise. Sometimes you've got to run if you want to get over the mountain, apparently. 

Boston meets New York in Madison Square Garden Wednesday night.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 9:34 am
Edited on: December 10, 2010 11:50 am

Shootaround 12.10.10: Shaq calls Griffin fabulous

Shaq says Blake Griffin is "fabulous,' the Heat are working towards progress, and some in New Orleans want to save their Hornets.
Posted by Matt Moore

  • Shaquille O'Neal on Blake Griffin: "He's fabulous ." Take a second and let that quote sink in. Shaq just described the most explosive rookie to enter the NBA in years in much the same way Lady Gaga likely discusses her latest dress made out of asbestos or drywall or whatever. An odd choice of words for anyone else. Par for the Shaq course.
  • Zach Lowe of SI on a specific shape the Heat have begun to implement: "The Heat have started to position James, Bosh and Wade in a triangle on the same side of the floor. They don’t do it often, but they’re trying it and are getting good results so far. Perhaps the best example happened about four minutes into the first quarter Wednesday. As Carlos Arroyo brought the ball up the left side, the three Miami stars took up residency on the opposite side — Wade in the right corner, Bosh at the right elbow and James on the right wing beyond the three-point line. A nice little $340 million obtuse triangle."
  • Rob Mahoney breaks down the accepted definition of All-Star, then asks the question, what should make an All-Star ?
  • Very quietly, the Kings are awaiting an MRI on the foot of Tyreke Evans. The whispers involve a term that rhymes with "shress shractshure." As of now he only has plantar fasciitis, which was confirmed by a foot expert this week.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:25 pm

Shaq to play in Turkey next?

Posted by Royce Young

Shaquille O'Neal has bounced around quite a bit as his career winds down. From the Lakers to the Heat to the Suns to the Cavs to now with the Celtics. Shaq has put a deadline on his NBA career, often counting it down in interviews and on Twitter. Originally, he was going to be done after this season. But he signed a two-year deal with the Celtics to try and make anothe run at a title.

So currently, Shaq's got something like 675 days left. Give or take. Shaq's long said that his future after retiring from the NBA would be in law enforcement, but according to Seref Yalcin, the general manager of the Besiktas (where Allen Iverson is playing), Shaq is planning to play in Turkey after his NBA career ends. From Ajansspor, translated by Hoopnotes:

Seref Yalcin, GM of the Turkish club, said he was in the United States to meet with the center who said to him: “I want to be champion this season with Boston. But I’m coming to Turkey next year."


“Some people will still come out and said ‘Shaq won’t come to Turkey’,” Yalcin added. “But the chances are very high.”

Shaq's two-year contract includes a player option for the 2011-12 season, so he could opt out. People have long believed that Shaq would go get paid big in Europe after his NBA career ends, Shaq even mentioning this past summer he had big dollar offers. So maybe there's some truth to it. 

To be clear though, Yalcin didn't say it was for sure. There's no spit-in-the-hand-and-shake deal made here. He just said, "Chances are very high." And honestly, would you really put this past Shaq? I wouldn't, especially if he gets his title in Boston this season and a lockout pops up next summer.

I'm sure Besiktas would pay a hefty price tag to have Allen Iverson and Shaquille O'Neal on the same team. Funny how here, that would be a pretty terrible foundation to a team. But there, they're like the Euro Miami Heat. 

Via Celtics Blog
Posted on: December 4, 2010 12:09 am

Bulls show they're not quite 'elite'

Bulls, hammered by Celtics in second half, may have to realize they're not quite elite yet. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Instead of following up with caveats, let's start off with reasons why tonight's blowout of the Celtics over the Bulls should not be overly concerning for Bulls fans:
  • This was Carlos Boozer's second game back from injury, his second game this season, his second game with the Bulls. So a 12-points-on-10-shots, 2 rebounds, 2 turnover night from him isn't the end of the world, and a better performance from him would have gone a long way to closing the gap. 
  • It's still really early.
  • This was on the road against a rabid Friday night crowd in Boston who wanted this win against a team that very much seems like a rival to them. 
  • Seriously. Really early, still. 
With that out of the way and most Bulls fans probably on their way, we can continue. It wasn't necessarily the fact that Boston handled the Bulls so well, it was that it was hard to see where the Bulls could possibly find matchup advantages should these two teams resume their rivalry in the playoffs this spring. It was also hard to see what this team's blueprint is for reaching "elite" status. Because as currently constructed, even at their peak, they're simply not. 

This isn't to say they're not very good. They are. They could find themselves as high as the third seed in the East should things go their way. But the opening tip was a pretty big omen of how this one was going to go. The Celtics pushed the ball to Kevin Garnett, he worked over Carlos Boozer in the post, and drained a hook over him. From there, it was off to the races. 

Thing is, this game actually was close for the first half. Here's the first half game flow courtesy of GameTracker

Pretty close, right? Here's the second half:

So close... and then, not so much.  The second half was an absolute blitzkrieg from Boston, who responded with abject fury once they got rolling. The bench for Boston wasn't much, but they didn't need to be with the starters all landing in double digits. Rajon Rondo had another absolutely ridiculous night with 19 assists and Kevin Garnett dominated both Boozer and Taj Gibson

The Bulls were relying on their frontcourt to be more versatile this year. After all, the Bulls opted to push for Boozer instead of Amar'e Stoudemire (who dropped 34 on the Hornets tonight). The Bulls will likely play to a draw with Rondo, and lost at the small guard position with Ray Allen dropping in his threes. They'll have a hard time at the small forward position with Luol Deng being reliant on whether his jumper is wet, but they absolutely must have production from Boozer and Noah. As good as Joakim Noah is, he gets absolutely swalled up by Boston's revamped frontcourt with Shaquille O'Neal, and then having Garnett (who was injured for their 2009 playoff series when Noah shined) switch to him when the big fella is out. With Boozer and Noah both ineffective, the Celtics racked up 56 points in the paint to the Bulls' 40. 

The Bulls are a better team than they were last year at this time. Their performance on the Circus Road Trip shows that. And Derrick Rose is a phenomenal talent when it comes to getting to the rim for floaters and drive-and-kick assists. But the Bulls were hopeful of being an Eastern Conference contender coming into this season. From how they've done against playoff teams in the East this year (a combined 0-4 against Boston, Orlando, and New York), they seem to be miles away, with little room to target improvements. 

The Bulls very much are still a work in progress. 
Posted on: December 2, 2010 8:39 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:12 pm

LeBron James chalk toss in Cleveland video

LeBron James tossed the talc chalk into the air during pre-game introductions before the Miami Heat faced the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans arena. Posted by Ben Golliver There was a question all week hanging over LeBron James' return to Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat: would he toss the chalk in the air prior to the game like he usually does? Former teammate Shaquille O'Neal wanted to know whether James would do it in front of so many angry fans. During the pre-game show on TNT, studio analyst Charles Barkley dared James to toss the powder. James said earlier in the week that he "probably" would and that it was his "ritual," and to no surprise, James did indeed throw up the talc prior to Thursday night's game. Here's the quick video of LeBron James tossing up the chalk in front of Cleveland Cavaliers fans. James was met with a chorus of boos from the entire Quicken Loans arena during his entry to the court and during player introductions, so it was no surprise that he was heavily booed during the chalk toss as well.  Click here for the full LeBron James introduction in Cleveland video. Click here to see James and the Miami Heat being booed as he enters the court and during introductions.
Posted on: November 18, 2010 2:16 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2010 2:17 pm

Video: Garnett introduces Shaq to "Gino Time"

Posted by Royce Young

It's become something of a traditional at Celtic home games. At some point, a video plays on the big screen showing an old American Bandstand video with guy dancing, with "GINO" written across his shirt. I'll admit, it's pretty awesome.

And the entire Celtic team eats it up as much as the crowd does. So when a new player comes in, surely something that must be done is to introduce them to Gino Time. And that's what Kevin Garnett did with Shaq Wednesday. Shaq found it hilarious and therefore, I found Shaq finding it hilarious, hilarious.

Via NBA Musings

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