|Shaquille O’Neal reportedly resists statue at alma mater||05.11.11 at 1:17 pm ET|
Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal reportedly is resisting plans by LSU to erect a life-sized statue of the 7-footer in front of the university’s new basketball practice facility.
According to the website Sports by Brooks, Shaq has donated “multiple millions” funds to his alma mater but always requested that his name not be placed on any of the new facilities he helped fund.
The website reports that the school already has competed the statue of O’Neal dunking the ball in an effort to convince him to accept the honor. There also are plans to have three other statues, representing Pete Maravich, Bob Petit and women’s standout Seimone Augustus. O’Neal reportedly has donated the money for the Augustus statue.
|Game 5 refs: Scott Foster, Bill Spooner, Ron Garretson||05.11.11 at 9:56 am ET|
The officials for Wednesday night’s Celtics-Heat Game 5 in Miami are Scott Foster, Bill Spooner and Ron Garretson.
All three will be overseeing a Celtics game for the first time this postseason. All three officiated one game of the Heat’s first-round playoff series vs. the 76ers.
Foster has recovered from his friendship with disgraced former official Tim Donaghy and has received key assignments from the NBA. He was part of the officiating crew for last year’s Game 7 of the NBA finals, which the Celtics lost to the Lakers.
Spooner is the referee who filed suit against Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski after an incident in a Jan. 24 game between the Timberwolves and Rockets. Krawczynski reported that Spooner told Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis he would “get it back” after making a bad call and then made “an even worse call on the Rockets.” Spooner sued for $75,000 and a retraction.
Garretson, the son of former longtime referee Darell Garretson, and Spooner are both Southern California natives who have officiated in the NBA for more than two decades.
|Ric Bucher on D&C: ‘Athleticism has taken over this league’||05.11.11 at 9:09 am ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Ric Bucher made an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to talk about the Celtics-Heat series. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Asked if the Celtics will claw and scrape and do whatever they can to avoid elimination in Wednesday night’s Game 5, Bucher said that might be the case, but it still likely won’t be enough.
“I would certainly expect that [effort], knowing the character and the temperament of this team. I just don’t know that it’s going to matter,” he said. “We’ve seen one thing in this postseason, it’s that the athletes and athleticism has taken over this league. It’s just a matter of sort of pushing that big boulder downhill; it begins to gain momentum.
“The Miami Heat, whatever confidence they had playing against the Celtics overall, beating them on their home floor, beating them in last-minute execution just has to do wonders for their confidence. And if there was an Achilles’ heel that the Celtics had to take advantage of with the Heat, it was the fact that the Heat seemed to have a fragile psyche. And if you could get them doubting themselves, you could get that boulder rolling in the other direction. I just don’t see that happening at this point.
“Going home, I just feel like the Heat are going to come out hard, they’re going to play fast. I just don’t know that the Celtics at this point have the requisite physical ability to slow down that freight train.”
Added Bucher: “It’s hard for me, when I look at the width and breadth of this series, to make case for why the Celtics are going to get it to a Game 6, much less get it to a Game 7 and make a great comeback.”
Bucher said the lack of production from the Celtics’ bench players is something the team could not afford. “The big disappointment — and maybe it shouldn’t be disappointment, maybe my expectations were too great — Big Baby Davis, Jeff Green, Nenad Kristic, who didn’t even play in the last game, Delonte West — when those guys gave them something, as they did in Game 3, this was a different team,” he said. “Expecting those role players to give them something, to give them transcendent performances on the road just flies against history and tradition. … At this point, I don’t see any reason for that to change.”
|Mike Gorman on M&M: ‘I think Miami is emotionally spent’||05.09.11 at 1:28 pm ET|
Longtime Celtics television broadcaster Mike Gorman joined the Mut & Merloni show Monday afternoon to discuss the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Heat. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Gorman said he doesn’t blame Dwyane Wade for what happened to Rajon Rondo in Saturday’s Game 3 after the two players tangled and the Celtics point guard ended up with a dislocated left elbow.
“I thought it was physical playoff basketball with a bad result,” Gorman said. “What happened to Rondo didn’t have anything to do necessarily with the way Wade hit him. It was just trying to brace his fall that he got his arm out there. It wasn’t like his arm was twisted willfully by an opposing player.”
Gorman said he was surprised by the Heat’s failure to be aggressive with Rondo after the injury.
“Maybe they were just so stunned he was on the floor,” Gorman said. “They seem hypnotized by the fact that he was playing them with one hand tied behind his back. … Not only they didn’t pressure the ball, they didn’t even force him to go left. It was like they were deferential to him. I don’t think that’s going to be the case tonight.”
Gorman said the Heat’s struggles Saturday and forward Chris Bosh acknowledging the Boston crowd affected his play might be a sign that the long season is wearing on them.
“I think Miami is emotionally spent,” Gorman said. “I think they’ve had the headlights, the spotlights, whatever you want to call it, right in their eyes right since training camp opened 6-7 months ago. And every single city they were in, they were getting booed, they were getting questioned. I think Bosh saying he was intimidated was more a sign of a guy saying that he was emotionally exhausted.
“I couldn’t believe on Saturday night, having the Celtics down 2-0 that [LeBron] James and Wade didn’t come out and just be assassins. Wade was an assassin, but James was tentative. I don’t know how else to describe it. For a guy with all the talent that he has, in a game like that to be tentative really is kind of amazing. So, I wonder about the psyche of this team.
“I also wonder — I think it’s 10 or 11 in a row now they’ve lost in Boston. They may be starting to think they can’t win here.”
|Jeff Van Gundy on D&C: Jermaine O’Neal ‘a decisive force’||05.09.11 at 9:28 am ET|
ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about the Celtics-Heat series. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Rajon Rondo‘s health was the primary topic of discussion, as everyone waits to see how the point guard will respond two days after dislocating his left elbow during the Celtics’ Game 3 victory. If Rondo plays, Van Gundy said the Heat assuredly will test him right away.
“Obviously, Miami has time to adjust and adapt and really send him left on every penetration,” Van Gundy said. “I’d pick up him up full court and see if he can advance the ball with his left hand. Because you can’t take it easy on someone with an injury. So, the adrenaline rush from the other night — and it truly was a heroic thing he did — whether it can carry over to another night, I’m not sure.”
Added Van Gundy: “I think it all depends on who you are, your competitive spirit and personality, your level of speed and quickness to be able to get back to that dominant hand. And obviously, Rondo has all of those. Now, I think it will impact him shooting, because you need your left hand to help you get the ball up into the shooting position. And I would suspect they may leave him more open than they normally do.”
If Rondo can’t be productive, Van Gundy noted that the Celtics have other options. “Delonte West — he’s not a setup-type point guard, he’s not a create shots for others-type point guard, but he can play effectively,” Van Gundy said. “I thought he had a good game in Game 3.
“They’re going to have play a really good game again tonight, and it will be interesting to see if they can regenerate that same intensity and energy and enthusiasm.”
On the subject of the ailing Shaquille O’Neal, Van Gundy said: “I felt badly for O’Neal in the last game. … I found [it] tough to watch, actually. I give him a lot of credit for going out there and not worrying about how he was looking but giving of himself for the betterment of the team, whatever he could provide. And he is still a force when it comes to having to block him out on the offensive boards.”
Van Gundy said Shaq’s return overshadowed a solid performance by the Celtics’ starting center. “If you looked at Jermaine O’Neal — which is the ONeal that everyone should have been talking about after that game — that guy, he put his heart into that game,” Van Gundy said. “He blocked shots, he took charges. I thought Jermaine O’Neal was absolutely a decisive force in Game 3. But they have to keep doing it to have a chance. It can’t just be a one-game hit.”
|Tim Legler on M&M: Celtics ‘just not athletic enough to deal with this’||05.04.11 at 12:18 pm ET|
ESPN NBA analyst Tim Legler joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Celtics’ struggles in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The C’s trail the Heat 2-0 as the series heads to Boston for Game 3 Saturday. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“I think the problem ultimately for the Celtics is going to be that they don’t have home court,” Legler said. “I think they’re going to derive a lot of energy coming home. With the change in venue and the couple of days off they’re going to have right now is going to do them a world of good. I think they’re going to energize themselves. I think they’re going to get their competitive edge back up again and realize: ‘Look, we’re not going out like this.’ And when they get home, you’re going to see a much better effort.
“Having said that, they can win two games in Boston, I don’t think there’s any question about it. But then you’re turning it into a best two out of three, but two of those games being in Miami, and you see the type of energy they played with down there.”
Legler said the Celtics’ aging stars simply can’t keep up with the Heat youngsters. “I just don’t know if Boston is athletic enough to deal with this team,” Legler said. “Because LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are doing what they want to do. They’re getting to the place on the court they want to get to. They’re getting there quicker than Boston has a chance to react.
“I think it’s the first time since this [Celtics] group’s been together, since ’08, that their defense doesn’t look as quick or as suffocating as it normally is. And I think a lot of that has to do with how fast and how quickly Miami gets to their spots offensively, and how they beat you off the dribble. And they’re getting to the rim and they’re getting to places before the help defender can get there. We’re not used to seeing that against this Boston team. And I think that speaks directly to the athleticism involved with the Miami Heat and that might be eventually the undoing for the Celtics in this series. They’re just not athletic enough to deal with this.”
Legler was asked about the Kendrick Perkins trade and how the center would impact the series were he still a Celtic. Said Legler: “Kendrick Perkins would definitely have an impact, and a healthy Shaquille O’Neal would have a similar impact. No. 1, just taking up space, being physical, moving bodies around the rim. You seal off those little pockets that you see Joel Anthony and Chris Bosh and some of the offensive rebounds they’ve gotten. I don’t think that they would be getting those if you have Kendrick Perkins in there or you have a healthy Shaq.
“Finishing plays around the basket — Perkins was never a great offensive player, but he got much better at it as he grew with the Boston Celtics. And Shaq has a 60 percent field goal percentage through his career. He’s going to make some of the shots right now that are being missed through the first two games, because they’re point-blank. He’s going to finish, he’s going to power through people. He’s not a guy that can move very well out on the floor, but just as far as anchoring the paint on both ends, they absolutely miss that physical presence.
“The depleted front line of the Boston Celtics just doesn’t do anything to to intimidate Miami.”
|Wyc Grousbeck on M&M: Kendrick Perkins ‘was going to walk’||04.29.11 at 1:11 pm ET|
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck stopped by for a visit with the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon as the C’s prepare for their second-round series against the Heat. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
Grousbeck discussed the trade with the Thunder that sent Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City. “We’re not here to trash Perk,” Grousbeck said. “What we’re here to say is, We needed, obviously, a backup for Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen]. This series will show, somebody needs to come in with quality — Jeff Green — and step up. And that’s how, hopefully, we can give these guys a fight.”
Added Grousbeck: “We love Perk. We miss him, no question. But we didn’t need another center as much as we needed someone to back up Paul and Ray. That’s the theory of the trade. We’ll see how it works out.”
Regarding Perkins’ contract issues, Grousbeck said: “Perk was going to walk at the end of June. That was clear. We offered him everything we could, and it wasn’t enough.”
Grousbeck insisted the trade is as much about this season as the years ahead. Said Grousbeck: “It’s also a trade for the future. But our principal idea is, Improve for this year if we can, and what are the pros and cons. And you back Danny [Ainge]. Danny’s got us to the championship, and I’m right there with him. The rest of us are all right there with him.”