|Doc on Shaq: ‘I was obviously wrong’||11.06.09 at 8:05 pm ET|
One of the great traits of Celtics coach Doc Rivers is his brutal honesty.
He, like many others around the NBA, thought the Phoenix Suns hit a home run two seasons ago when they traded for Shaquille O’Neal, putting him alongside Amar’e Stoudemire and Steve Nash. Rivers just assumed the Suns would take off, challenge the Lakers and Nuggets for Western Conference supremacy.
Not so much. After a half-season in 2007-08, when they were eliminated in the first round, the Suns fell to 46-36 last season, not even good enough to qualify for the Western playoffs.
“I was obviously wrong,” Rivers said. “I didn’t that was a bad match with Shaq and Stoudamire.”
But the Suns could never optimize O’Neal’s presence with Nash and Stoudamire and the Suns let O’Neal go to Cleveland this past off season. The more nimble, athletic 6-11 Channing Frye has taken O’Neal’s spot and is averaging 14.6 points in Phoenix’s 4-1 start to this season.
“I thought you had one post guy and Stoudamire is more off the post than on the post so I thought it was a good combination but it just didn’t work out for whatever reason,” Rivers added. “It’s good to see Channing Frye play well. I’ve always been pretty high on him as a player. I think he’s another great example, a litle like Shelden [Williams], guys who take a little time to find their way and I guess he’s found his way.”
|Shaq: Celtics are a ‘damn good’ team||10.27.09 at 2:01 pm ET|
CLEVELAND – Shaquille O’Neal acknowledged on Tuesday morning that the Cavaliers will have their hands full with the Celtics, not just tonight but all season.
“A lot of teams made a lot of moves,” O’Neal said. “They’re the former champs and really didn’t have a chance to defend their crown because Mr. Garnett was hurt during the postseason. We know they’re going to be ready. We know a lot of other teams will be ready. It’s not going to be easy for us but we accept all challenges.”
O’Neal may have been quite formal but all pleasantries will likely end tonight as Garnett and the Celtics feel they have something to prove to the Cavaliers and the rest of the Eastern Conference.
O’Neal is just looking to fit in and begin meshing with another star by the name of LeBron.
“Very excited but you learn not to get too excited,” O’Neal said. “It’s a long season. I’ve been around every situation imaginable. We know what we have to do. We know we’re going up against a damn good opponent. We just have to try to keep our poise and play hard and hopefully, we can get started on the right foot.”
O’Neal has been a lightning rod in his most recent stops around the league, stops included Miami and most-recently Phoenix.
“Difference here is I’ve been inserted into a really good team,” O’Neal said. “So, my role is going to be a little different and I accept that. I’m not really coming here to stir things up, just come in here and be the piece they were missing. The whole world realizes they were just one piece away and hopefully, I’m that piece.”
|Shaq on Baby: ‘He’ll be back more focused’||at 1:28 pm ET|
CLEVELAND – Cavaliers superstar center Shaquille O’Neal was asked about his friend Glen Davis, who did not make the trip to Cleveland for the season opener Tuesday night because of a reported broken bone in his right hand following a fight with a former LSU teammate on Sunday night.
“Well they call him Big Baby for a reason, he’s my son,” joked O’Neal, who like Davis starred in basketball at Louisiana State. “A lot of people don’t know that. He’s a great player. I’ve known him since he was a youngster.
“He works hard, has been working hard on his game. It’s an unfortunate incident but one thing about him is he’s a focused individual so he realizes he may have made a mistake so he’ll come back more focused than ever.”
The Cavaliers held a brief shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday morning.
|Report: Suns agree to send Shaq to Cavs||06.25.09 at 12:39 am ET|
Yahoo! Sports reported the Cleveland Cavaliers have reached an agreement in principle to acquire Shaquille O’Neal from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, the 46th pick in Thursday’s draft, and cash. According to ESPN, the trade is awaiting final approval from the Cavs’ and Suns’ owners.
This move adds depth to the Cavaliers front court, which stands to lose Anderson Varejao to free agency this summer, and gives LeBron James protection in the paint. O’Neal has a career average of 25.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 35 games against the Celtics.
|Backcourt steps up||02.22.09 at 6:57 pm ET|
Shaquille O’Neal was supposed to be a problem for the Boston Celtics. He was supposed to push around their little big men and have the Celtics counting down the days until Kevin Garnett returned from his knee injury. But it was one of the smallest guys on the court who caused the biggest problems. Led by Rajon Rondo, the Celtics backcourt dominated the Phoenix Suns. (RECAP HERE)
32 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds, 13-18 FG, 1-1 3PG, 5-9 FT, 3 STL
On his 23rd birthday, Rondo made 35-year-old Steve Nash look about ten years older. The Suns had no way of stopping Rondo, not even O’Neal’s presence made a difference — Rondo scored however and from wherever he pleased. The absence of Garnett creates more opportunities for him to take his jumpshot, and judging by his shot chart, there is little need to question whether or not he has developed one.
31 points, 4 rebounds, 10-15 FG, 4-8 3PG, 7-8 FT
It’s no secret that Allen can’t be left alone on the arc. On Sunday he couldn’t be left alone, period. Allen spread the Suns defense with a balanced attack of long and mid-range shots. Allen was on his mark, hitting 10 field goals and scoring 30 points for the first time since January 11 against the Toronto Raptors. He also set a new franchise record with 72 consecutive free throws made, passing Larry Bird’s previous mark of 71.
26 points, 6 rebounds, 8-17 FG, 10-10 FT
The Celtics couldn’t score 128 points without Pierce making an impact. Pierce struggled in the first half (1-8 FG), so when his shot didn’t fall he got to the line (6-6 FT). Then he turned it on in the second half to score 18 points in 22 minutes. The captain played a team-high 44 minutes and by the end of the game had gone to the line 10 times. The Celtics improved to 12-3 when Pierce attempts at least 10 free throws.
The Celtics will travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Monday night.
|Eastern Conference trades begin||02.13.09 at 1:44 pm ET|
ESPN the Magazine‘s Ric Bucher has reported the Miami Heat have agreed to trade Shawn Marion and former Boston Celtic Marcus Banks to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon. According to Bucher, the deal is pending league approval and would be announced Friday afternoon if it goes through.
So what could this mean for the Celtics?
This move could get the Raptors back to the playoffs, potentially as a first round match up for the Celtics. Even though they have the second worst record in the East (21-34), they are only five games out of the eighth spot. The problem was O’Neal could not figure out how to play a secondary role to Chris Bosh (as he told WEEI.com in November). Rather than clogging the post, Marion can spread the floor with his outside shot. This balances the Raptors lineup, one that certainly has the potential to make a push in the East.
The Heat (28-24) currently hold the fifth spot in the East. The addition of O’Neal gives them the big body they have been missing since Shaq left and a reliable option for Dwyane Wade to find down low. Suddently the Heat have a solid 1-2 punch.
The Celtics swept the Raptors 4-0 this season. They are 1-0 against the Heat and will face them next on March 11 in Miami.
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 104, Suns 87||01.20.09 at 1:48 am ET|
For the Celtics, Monday night was an embarrassment of riches. For the Phoenix Suns, it was just an embarrassment.
Rajon Rondo had perennial All-World point guard Steve Nash for lunch, scoring 23 points while dishing out seven assists and grabbing five rebounds in three quarters. Nash was held to 12 points and eight meaningless assists.
Kevin Garnett and Brian Scalabrine feasted on Shaq Diesel, who couldn’t believe his teammates didn’t bother showing up.
The Celtics forced 15 first half turnovers, matching the same number of field goals the Suns managed in the same 24 minutes.
Maybe the Celtics were inspired by the fact that they will be traveling to Washington early Tuesday for the historical inauguration of Barack Obama. Whatever the reason, the Celtics made the Suns look like the Arizona Cardinals when they visited Foxboro in December.
But, as the Cardinals showed, regular season games sometimes don’t mean much, just don’t tell Shaq that.