Tag:Shaquille O'Neal
Posted on: April 22, 2011 3:37 pm

Shaq out for Game 3, more likely for Game 4

Posted by Royce Young

Shaq traveled with the team to New York. There was some thinking that he might actually return for Game 3 because of that. Doc Rivers led everyone to believe as much with his comments before the team left. But via CSN New England, it looks like Shaq will sit in Game 3.

“I don’t want to talk. Let the players talk. I’m just trying to get back,” O’Neal said as he left the floor following Friday morning’s shoot-around.

The fact that the 39-year-old is with the team on the road is a signal that O’Neal’s health is improving. Although he is with the team for Games 3 and 4, Rivers said he’s definitely out for tonight’s Game 3 matchup and is doubtful for Game 4 on Sunday.

“He’s just feeling better,” Rivers said. “He’s close. I don’t know what he needs to show me. He’s not ready to play yet, but he’s getting closer. The fact that he’s getting closer, you bring him on the road.”

(Let me say, "He's close" is really getting old. I realize Rivers has to say something, when asked every day about Shaq's condition, but if I were Doc I'd just say, "Hey, I'll let you know when he's back, OK?")

Without Shaq again tonight, the Celtics will turn to Jermaine O'Neal once again and hope he produces. While it's more likely Shaq will see some time in Game 4, if the Celtics go up 3-0, I wouldn't be shocked if Rivers used the extra time off to rest Shaq for that game in hopes of a sweep.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 22, 2011 12:10 am

Shaq travels with Celtics to New York

Posted by Royce Young

Fresh off a report that he might not even return for a game this postseason, Shaquille O'Neal traveled with the Celtics to New York, presumably to try and give it a go in Game 3.

Coach Doc Rivers indicated to reporters that if Shaq made the journey south to New York that he could be available. "If he's closer to playing -- you know how we've done it -- if you see him on the trip he's really close," Rivers said Wednesday. "If he goes on the trip, that means we think he'll play that Sunday."

Well, he made the trip.

To refresh you for the billionth time, Shaq missed 37 games because of an Achilles injury and in his first game back late in the regular season strained his right calf. The Celtics are certainly eager to get him back to at least freshen him up and get him in shape for what they hope will be a deep playoff run. Jermaine O'Neal has played really well thus far for the Celtics against the Knicks, but adding Shaq would be big for Boston.
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:11 pm
Edited on: April 21, 2011 11:10 am

Is Shaq coming back? Questions abound

Posted by Matt Moore

UPDATE: "I know that's not true," Doc Rivers told CSNNE.com . "He's going to play. I just don't know when."

You wouldn't think a 38-year-old center who has played 89 games over the past two seasons would cause all this hub-ub. But then, most 38-year-old centers aren't the living legend Shaquille O'Neal. A report has surfaced in the Eagle Tribune  that suggests that we may not be seeing the Diesel again... ever. 
Shaquille ONeal may have worn a Boston Celtics uniform for the last time.

In what would be a crippling blow to their chances of winning a title, the Celtics are going forward as if the affable center wont be returning to team for the playoffs, according to an NBA source.


"If he were to come back, it would have to be a miraculous recovery," said the source, who requested anonymity. "And at his age he turned 39 on March 6 and physical condition, the Celtics have planned accordingly."
via Source: Cs not expecting Shaq in playoffs » Sports » EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA .

So that sounds pretty bad. Not having O'Neal, after trading Kendrick Perkins (yes, that old chestnut again, sorry Celtics fans, it's going to keep being brought up), and only having Jermaine O'Neal who has injury issues himself does not set them up well going forward. There is only one dominant center left in the playoffs, but it's more a matter of not having that advantage, rather than another team having a strong one. 

Of course, when you really look at the report, there are some questions. From WEEI in Boston: 
Sounds like a lot of speculation to me. He “may have worn” Green for the final time? That could’ve been written yesterday, the day before that or a month before that. Of course the Celtics are moving forward as if Shaq’s not returning. What else are they going to do? Stop practicing until the Big Fella suits up? Obviously, they’ll move forward with Jermaine O’Neal as the starting center and Davis as the No. 2, and they’ll adjust if Shaq returns.

We already knew about the failed conditioning test, we already knew the Celtics are holding out hope for a return in the first or second rounds and we already knew Rivers had one game plan with Shaq and one game plan without him.

So, really, all we learned is that an NBA source believes it would take “a miraculous recovery” for Shaq to return, based on “his age and physical condition.” We already knew Shaq was 39 years old, and we already knew Shaq weighs at least 325 pounds.

So, before Celtics Nation enters a state of panic, know that Shaquille O’Neal will be reevaluated before Game 3. If he can go, he will. If not, he’ll be reevaluated for Game 4 … and so on and so on. It’s the same old story.
via Green Street » Irish Coffee: Is Shaq coming back, or isn’t he? .

So that's a nice dose of reality. I think it's unlikely we'll find out if O'Neal is done for the playoffs. He will continue to be a "maybe" for every game. Remember how the Celtics treated the Kevin Garnett injury in 2008, cloaked in mystery wrapped in a puzzle. O'Neal is going to be a gametime decision every night, even if the coaching staff is planning for him not to be available. 

But this still avoids the problem. Which is if you can't count on Shaq, the Celtics are still trying to determine a gameplan built around Jermaine O'Neal as the only available center. There's the question of injury, there's the question of endurance, there's the question of matchups. The Shaq question keeps getting louder in Boston. In the short term, though, the numbers show that J.O. can make a big impact on the Knicks... when he's feeling well enough to play.
Posted on: April 18, 2011 4:02 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 4:03 pm

Shaq out for Game 2 versus the Knicks

Posted by Royce Young

No big stun here, but Shaquille O'Neal won't play in Boston's Game 2 versus New York says Doc Rivers. Shaq didn't practice Monday.

Shaq of course is recovering from a strained calf that he injured in his first game back after recovering from an Achilles injury. The Celtics barely escaped Game 1 against New York on the wings of a late Ray Allen 3. The other O'Neal, Jermaine, stepped up in a big way going 6-6 from the floor. Of course the Celtics can't bank on that sort of production from Jermaine, but it surely was a pleasant surprise.

The Celtics can get by the Knicks without a healthy Shaq, but they need him in order to go deeper. They aren't rushing him back because at 39 years old, he's just a wrong step away from another injury, but the Celtics certainly want him to get a little burn in this series. Maybe Game 3.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 16, 2011 1:43 pm
Edited on: April 16, 2011 2:20 pm

Celtics C Shaq to miss Game 1 against Knicks

Boston Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal will not play in Game 1 against the New York Knicks due to injury. Posted by Ben Golliver. shaquille-oneal

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge told the media on Saturday that center Shaquille O'Neal will not be available for Game 1 against the New York Knicks on Sunday as expected. "He's not ready. We don't know when he's going to be ready," Ainge said, according to Celtics.com. The team's doctor, Dr. McKeon, said: "He's been working his tail off."

NBA.com reported on Twitter that O'Neal "tried to run this am, couldn't go. No timetable."

O'Neal missed a significant amount of time during the latter half of the regular season due to a variety of ailments, including an Achilles injury. He attempted to make a comeback on April 3 but was shut down after just six minutes of action. Those six minutes were the only court time he's seen since February 1.

The Celtics could certainly use O'Neal as their vaunted interior depth took a hit with the midseason trade of Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Without O'Neal, the Celtics will have to make due with Nenad Krstic and Jermaine O'Neal and can also shift to some small ball lineups. Against the Knicks, Shaq's absence isn't critical -- as New York could not care less about defense and rebounding -- but his availability for a potential second round series against the Miami Heat or a potential Eastern Conference Finals with the Boston Celtics could be a major factor.

On the season, O'Neal is averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.3 minutes. He appeared in just 37 games for the Celtics.
Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:57 am
Edited on: April 12, 2011 9:00 am

Celtics expect Shaq to be ready for NBA playoffs

The Boston Celtics expect center Shaquille O'Neal to be ready to play once the playoffs start. Posted by Ben Golliver. shaquille-oneal

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge is drowning in an ocean of despair these days, as the complaining about his trade of center Kendrick Perkins at the deadline has reached record levels. One man can throw Ainge a life preserver: Shaquille O'Neal.

Boston's aging center has played in just 37 games so far this season, averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds, easily career-lows in both categories. But O'Neal is the best hope the Celtics have for injecting some toughness and a paint presence in Perkins' absence. 

The good news for Celtics fans, the Boston Globe reports, is that Ainge expects O'Neal to be ready to go once the playoffs start later this week.
Celtics president Danny Ainge told the Globe this afternoon that Shaquille O'Neal is unlikely to play in Wednesday's season finale against the New York Knicks but is expected to practice Thursday and be ready for Game 1 of the Celtics' first-round series Saturday or Sunday.
O'Neal, who missed 27 games with an Achilles tendon and foot injuries and then played 5 minutes, 36 seconds in his return before straining a right calf muscle, has missed the past games, including Monday's road finale against the Washington Wizards.
"We're planning as of right now of him practicing Thursday or Friday and being ready to play for Game 1 of the playoffs," Ainge said. "I have every confidence that he will be ready and play in the playoffs."
It's all settled: The No. 3 seed Celtics will face the No. 6 seed New York Knicks in the first round. The good news for Boston is that New York doesn't have a capable center either, so even if O'Neal is limited upon his return it shouldn't necessarily be a difference-maker.

Looking down the road at Boston's potential second round opponent, the Miami Heat, their potential Eastern Conference Finals opponent, the Chicago Bulls, or their potential NBA Finals opponent, the Los Angeles Lakers, a player with Shaq's size and presence has significant value, as Boston's other interior options include Nenad Krstic and Jermaine O'Neal. One bright spot: unless the Orlando Magic pull an upset over the Bulls, the Celtics should avoid Dwight Howard.
Posted on: April 9, 2011 6:47 pm

Shaq out at least Boston's final two road games

Posted by Royce Young

Hope you enjoyed those six minutes of Shaquille O'Neal Celtic fans. Because it's going to be a little time again before he returns.

Via ESPN Boston, Shaq will sit out Boston's final two road games versus the Heat and Wizards. Shaq did not travel with the team. Shaq of course strained his right calf muscle on his first trip down the floor during his return last week from an Achilles injury that held him out two months.

There is potential that Shaq may not return until the playoffs too. The Celtics' last game is against the Knicks in Boston this Wednesday. After that, Boston would be off three more days until it began it's postseason play. So Shaq could be looking at a solid 10 days of rest for his strained calf muscle.

Jermaine O'Neal, who also just recently returned to action, will be starting in place of Shaq.

It's a dangerous thing to go into the playoffs with the idea you're going to rely heavily on a 39-year-old center than injured himself just jogging down the court. But that's the Celtics plan. Shaq needs to be healthy for the postseason so playing it safe here is a good idea, but at the same time, rust is probably what led to this injury in the first place. So when the postseason begins, Shaq could be a constant question mark.
Category: NBA
Posted on: April 7, 2011 11:42 pm

Celtics have a big problem

The Boston Celtics have prided themselves on being bullies inside. The Bulls showed that identity may be in danger of losing its muscle.
Posted by Matt Moore

The entire time you read this, just imagine a big Kendrick-Perkins-shaped shadow cast over it. The trade is done and over. But that doesn't mean the unspoken question isn't going to be about the trade of Perkins to Oklahoma City. This Celtics team will be compared to the 2008 championship and 2010 Eastern Conference championship teams, and those teams were known for their tough play inside, thanks in large part but not entirely to Perkins. That trade will hang over the franchise should they fail to bring home No. 18. For now though, the trade is over, and the Celtics have to deal with what they have and who they are. Just know that it's there. 

Against the Bulls Thursday night, the Celtics had the idea early. They moved Jermaine O'Neal into space, guarded by Carlos Boozer, and O'Neal converted. In the first quarter, the objective was clear. Boozer is the Bulls' weakest defender. That's where the Celtics need to hit them. But then, for the next two quarters, the Celtics moved away from it. They repeatedly went to unstable dribbles on ther perimeter, trying to find passing lanes through a defense that must have seemed very familiar for them, the hounding, relentless style. The result was turnover after turnover leading to fast break opportunities, especially for Derrick Rose who carved them into pieces. 

In the third quarter, when the Celtics closed the gap aggressively, they went to Kevin Garnett in space against Joakim Noah. Garnett worked Noah in the post, nailing a turnaround baseline J, then a face-up jumper from mid-range.

And that pretty much sums up the Celtics' efforts to score in the paint. 

More on Bulls-Celtics
The Celtics are used to being bullies. The bigger, tougher, rougher team. And against the Bulls, they should be. Instead, the Bulls used effort and execution to overcome any size differential, flummoxed and frustrated the Celtics, and dropped them like a bad habit. Look at the autopsy on the box score. Kevin Garnett was 3-9, thanks to Noah being active and help coming from all over. But the real culprit was Glen Davis, who repeatedly stopped the ball in favor of leaning fadeaway turnarounds and contested face-ups. Davis doesn't recognize his role in the offense, having too often been given the green light like some sort of novelty act that went on stage so long it thought it was part of the main show. 

Jermaine O'Neal, the biggest player the Celtics have active, played just 16 minutes and had no rebounds. But he was more active and physical, and wound up with two blocks. The Celtics will point out they were without Shaquille O'Neal, which is true, and O'Neal definitely would have made a difference. But the Celtics have to accept they can't rely on him. Either Nenad Krstic, Troy Murphy, or Jermaine O'Neal is going to have to step up, and if not, Kevin Garnett is going to have to put together a series of games we haven't seen since the middle of the 2000's. 

Which is still possible. The Celtics can turn it on when the second season comes. They did it last year. But the difference is that they look significantly different as that tough, brutal team that punished teams inside. Forget about the offense. Derrick Rose had an open invitation to the lane, and instead of winding up on the floor headed to the line, sore from a border-line flagrant, he swooped on through. That's not the Celtics we've come know. 

Derrick Rose put the finishing touches on his MVP season Thursday night. The question is if the game also served as a red flag that the Celtics' recent stumbles aren't a matter of effort and boredom, but legitimate issues with what they've come to pride themselves on. The Celtics have had a huge muscle advantage on the league for three years. The Bulls on Thursday showed that if you execute cleanly, the Celtics are no longer in a position to shove back. They have nine days to get that muscle back.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com