|What’s up next for Shaq? A snowman, the subway, and dressing up like a woman||10.24.10 at 1:58 pm ET|
WALTHAM — Just days after heading to Harvard Square to pretend he was a statue for an hour, Shaquille O’Neal revealed what his next experiments will be.
Initially, Shaq mentioned that his next public foray will be seasonally-based.
“I thinking of buy a snowsuit, standing in the middle of a field and have people throw snowballs at me,” he said. “Something different.”
But then, after a suggestion from a reporter that he could integrate the ‘T’ into his next field trip, O’Neal latched onto the idea.
“No, never,” he said when asked if he had ever been on the subway in Boston. “That’s a good idea. I’m going to do that. What’s today? Sunday? I’m going to do that next week.”
O’Neal then took it to another level when explaining how he was going to appear when boarding the train. He said that he would be dressing up as a woman named, “Shaquita,” “I’m going to do that,” he said.
As for his experience at Harvard, O’Neal said that the idea came from seeing the discipline of the Buckingham Palace guards and other military personnel.
“For me I can always tell my friends I went to Harvard,” he noted. “When I say I went to Harvard, you can take that for how you want to take it. I went to Harvard, I stood at Harvard, and I graduated from Harvard. So now I’m smart.
“I’ve always liked Boston. The people here have always treated me right. Go to [Legal's Seafood] and get that clam chowder. Go to (an Italian restaurant) for that big spaghetti bowl. I’ve never had problems in Boston, that’s why I can go to Harvard Square by myself for an hour, people just touch me, have someone say they’re my son. Just have a good time.”
Asked how his experience with the Celtics has been compared to other teams he has been with, O’Neal gave the Celts a notable distinction.
“This is the funnest team I’ve been on in my life,” O’Neal said. “These guys are great. Usually I’m the ring leader of bringing fun to a team, but I haven’t even done anything yet. These guys crack me up. Big Baby and Nate, they need their own TV show. Those guys are funny. Just having certain conversations with all the great players, me and Kevin [Garnett] going back to our LA, Minnesota days. It’s just fun. It’s a close-knit group already. We go to dinner together, movies together, play cards. It’s just a fun group. It’s going to be a fun 735 days for me.”
|The reason Shaquille O’Neal was shouting ‘Chimichanga!’ at Big Baby||10.16.10 at 10:47 pm ET|
HARTFORD — Glen Davis would get the ball on the far wing, square up on an isolation, and then, rising above all the other noise in the XL Center, would come a voice from the Celtics’ bench.
First time it was, “Jumbalaya!”
The next came, “Chimichanga!”
And, finally, was, “Barb-b-que chicken!”
The source of the shouting was Shaquille O’Neal. So why was he doing it?
“I can’t tell you. It’s an LSU thing,” he explained to group of reporters after the Celtics’ 97-84 preseason win over the Knicks Saturday night.
The center was then asked if it was something he did to all players who attended his alma mater.
“Yes, all LSU players,” O’Neal deadpanned. “I can’t tell you our secret society codes.”
But, while walking out to the bus, O’Neal offered a chance to unlock the secret. One guess, which was: It was encouragement for ‘Big Baby’ to eat up his competition on the isolation.
Another mystery revolving around the mysterious Big Shamrock solved. About one million to go.
|Doc Rivers doesn’t ‘get all the hatred’ toward Miami Heat||10.16.10 at 9:35 pm ET|
HARTFORD — The questions will continue to come fast and furious as Oct. 26 approaches.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers understands the deal: The inquiries leading into his team’s season opener will be just part of the equation. Just as many questions will also center around the team the C’s are playing, the Miami Heat and their three faces of the franchise — LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade.
This time, just prior to the Celtics’ preseason tilt with the Knicks at the XL Center, Rivers was asked about the difference in people’s perception regarding the the Heat and the C’s.
“I don’t get all the hatred,” Rivers said. “I guess the press conference had a little bit to do wit that. We did it through trade, they did it through free agency, maybe that had a little bit to do with it. Whatever it is at the end of the day, when the games start the Miami fans are going to cheer for Miami, and the Boston fans are going to cheer for Boston. The Orlando fans are going to cheer for Orlando. We’ll see how it goes.”
|Doc on how Celtics can get better: ‘We can win Game 7′||10.16.10 at 9:23 pm ET|
HARTFORD — Doc Rivers’ initial explanation of how his Celtics can better from last season’s team, which came one win away from the NBA title, wasn’t complicated.
“We can win Game 7,” he said prior to the C’s preseason tilt with the Knicks Saturday night at XL Center.
But, as the Celtics’ coach talked, he got more specific.
“We can rebound better. We were awful during the regular season. We turned the ball over during the regular season. And we didn’t win enough home games,” Rivers said. “I know we had the injuries, but we were losing the home games even when we were playing well last year. And in retrospect, it came back and we had a Game 7 on the road, so that’s how we can get better. I don’t know record-wise if we will be better or not, but I know we can be a better basketball team.”
Another difference Rivers will be looking for?
“Veteran teams have to be playing well all year, just like young teams,” he said. “I’ve said it before, what we did last year was unusual. It usually doesn’t work and in my opinion didn’t work. It got us to the Finals but didn’t us to what we wanted. We didn’t win it. That’s what we’re going to fight. Just because we have a lot of experience, we can’t use that as a crutch all year.”
Then came the final, much more specific, focal point that might allow the C’s to leave the season with a smile: Actually pounding the ball into the post instead of living on the perimeter.
“When you have injuries you tend to stay outside, and it hurt us. You look at some of the bigger games in the playoffs, we really didn’t have post presences at the time. That’s a difficult way to play basketball and win. We got away with it for the most part, but not all the way,” Rivers explained. “You’ll see more. Two years ago, we were an in and out basketball team. We had to basically abandon that in some ways.”
The coach continued: “We’re posting everybody. That’s what we told them the first day, is we have to get back to being an in and out team. We want to run, we want to get easy baskets, we want to look to the early post. Like yesterday, Kevin [Garnett] had five of them where sprinted down the floor, beat everybody down the floor, got deep in the post, and last year he was the last guy down the floor. He was dragging his leg. We had to do what we had to do to win. It allows you to stop runs when you have a post game. Teams are on an 8-0 run, you can call a timeout and go right to the post, you usually get something out of that. When you don’t that you just better hope to make every shot.”
And then there is the secret weapon …
“Paul [Pierce] loves the post, so does Kevin. [Rajon] Rondo is the guy, for me, who is the new guy that we can actually use,” Rivers explained. “Rondo is better than you think down there. We were working on it a lot last year, we just never had the confidence to do it.
“What makes him effective is that you have to guard him down there. You can’t back off of him on the post. When he’s guarded, it not only spreads the floor, but it makes him a better passer.”
So, there you have it in a nutshell: The keys to unlocking the door that the Celtics couldn’t walk through a season ago.
|Tommy Heinsohn gives NBA new slogan: ‘It’s stupid!’||10.14.10 at 8:30 am ET|
Classic Tommy after Kevin Garnett gets ejected in Wednesday night’s Celtics’ win over the Knicks. Heinsohn: “This is absolutely, NBA, it’s stupid!” (Hat tip to ‘Ball Don’t Lie’)
|Reggie Evans: Chris Bosh will use Paul Pierce dunk as ‘ammunition’||10.10.10 at 10:28 pm ET|
Talking after his team’s 91-87 preseason loss to the Celtics on Sunday night at TD Garden, Toronto forward Reggie Evans suggested that his former teammate, Chris Bosh, would be using the motivation derived from being kicked by Paul Pierce during dunk in the midst of a Nov. 27 game last year at the Garden when Bosh’s new team, the Heat, face off with the Celts in the teams’ season-opener.
“Me knowing Chris, I know he’s got that game penciled in based on what happened last year with the Paul Pierce dunk, with the kick and stuff,” Evans said. “Knowing him, when he has so much ammunition on a team, I know he’s looking forward to that game. He may deny it, but I’m pretty sure he’s looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Evans explained that Bosh never said anything about the play, but suggested that it wouldn’t be a big leap of faith to suggest that the new Heat forward is using that play to prepare for the Oct. 26 showdown at the Garden.
“Anybody would take that personally,” Evans said. “Getting kicked on a dunk, who wouldn’t take that personally? The thing about it is that Chris never said anything about it out of his own mouth, but Chris, with his competitive nature, I could see how he would be looking forward to playing him again.
“It’s just like Kobe Bryant losing to Boston in the Finals. He remembers that. That goes for any athlete, who has a competitive nature and genuinely loves the game. It will definitely be fun to watch.”
In 25 career games against the Celtics, Bosh is averaging 20.2 points per game. For more on the Celtics, see the team page at weei.com/celtics.
|For those trying to fix Shaquille O’Neal’s free throws, don’t bother||10.08.10 at 9:05 am ET|
New city. New team. Same routine.
Shaquille O’Neal has taken the third-most free throws of any player in the NBA (11,347), and trails only Wilt Chamberlain in the amount he has missed (5,974). But what he might lead the professional basketball-playing world in is something that no stat service will hand over – advice.
Wherever O’Neal has gone he has been besieged by legions of well-meaning observers who swear they have the elixir to the big man’s free throw shooting woes.
For those people, Shaq has a message: Don’t bother.
“I never take advice,” O’Neal told WEEI.com after Tuesday’s practice, saying he learned that lesson by his second season in the league.
“Actually taking advice made my numbers drop. Whatever you use to get you to where you are at you should never change.”
Where O’Neal is at is an incredibly successful basketball player, which a prolific ability to miss free throws. He has the second-worst free throw shooting percentage in the history of the NBA (.527), with Chamberlain the only player to have shot worse (.511).
(Fear not, even if O’Neal duplicates his 112-for-226 performance of a season ago — .496 – it will only knock him down to .526.
“I could care less. How many years has he played? I’m not smarter than anybody else he’s had. He’s only had Riley, Phil Jackson,” said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. “I’m not going to try and do anything with him. The day we signed Shaq I got letters, people, everybody giving advice. If you can get a hold of him, have at it.”
“Everybody would come up to him. Even players wanted to show him how to do it,” said Celtics guard Delonte West, who played with O’Neal in Cleveland last season. “He wants to do it his way. But you would be surprised, he’s been knocking them down in practice. We’ve been doing ‘Hack-A-Shaq’ in practice and he’s been making us pay for it every time.”
Unfortunately for the Celtics, the perceived improvement hasn’t translated into the games as of yet. O’Neal — whose 226 attempts last season were the fewest of his career — has taken five free throws in the Celts’ first two exhibition games and missed them all.
But while O’Neal isn’t keen on soaking in unsolicited advice, it doesn’t mean he isn’t going to take advantage the resources available to him.
What O’Neal can draw upon now is the expertise of one of the greatest free throw shooters of all-time, Ray Allen, who enters the season with the fifth-best percentage in the history of the game (.894). (For reference sake, Allen has missed 458 regular season free throws in his 14-season career. In the 2000-01 campaign alone, O’Neal misfired 473 times.)
“I won’t say anything to him about his foul shooting unless he asks. He’s been around long enough. I feel like if he wants to get better, or if he feels like he’s at a point where he doesn’t realize what he’s doing he’ll come to me,” Allen explained.
If he says something like, ‘I don’t feel good about free throws’ I might step in and say, ‘This is what I see.’ He actually said something to me earlier and I just gave him some advice. But they have to come to me first. I’m not going to over-inundate them with advice or knowledge with what I know, because what works for me might now work for somebody else.”