Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
For all the struggles he may have, it doesn't take much for him to completely change the game up and go back to the pre-Kazaam Shaq that was an unstoppable force.
We saw that for a brief stretch in the second quarter.
He scored in a variety of ways, including one possession in which he took the defensive rebound out of Humphries' hands and put it in for a lay-up.
O'Neal also rebounded, finishing with a game-high nine rebounds – one short of his first double-double with the Celtics.
He also made a number of great passes, including a long outlet pass to Rajon Rondo in the third quarter for an uncontested lay-up that gave the C's a 75-67 lead – their largest lead of the game at that point.
Shaq's line – 12 points, 9 rebounds in 24 minutes. Perfect (I'll conveniently overlook the 4 TOs).
If you expect anything more, then you're either a hater with an agenda or clueless.
With Jermaine O'Neal still fighting off minor injuries, look for Shaq to start the season as a starter. Not that he cares:
“I don’t care,’’ O’Neal said. I’m 38. Been there, done that. It’s only four or five people in the history of the game that’s done more than me, so I’m not really concerned about [starting]. It’s about getting banner No. 18, so whatever Doc and the Celtics need me to do, that’s what I’m here to do.’’
On Page 2, Von Wafer wins the final roster spot.
Wafer, who came on strong toward the end of the preseason, still must prove he's bought into the defensive-minded culture of the Celtics organization.
"Hopefully I showed them that I can get better, willingly, to play defense," said Wafer. "I got a lot better defensively so far, and hopefully I can continue to play. But like I said, making the team is not enough, man. I've been playing in the NBA for five years, sitting on the bench for four years. You can't get better sitting on the bench. I want to play."
Delonte West's suspension could free some time for Wafer, but Boston navigated much of the first three quarters without Wafer (or Delonte) during Wednesday's final tuneup. Wafer's veteran-minimum contract is only partially guaranteed, making him a low-cost cut if the team ultimately decides to go in a different direction.
Wafer may have been outplayed by Stephane Lasme, but the Celtics need his skill set (shooting) much more than they need Lasme's (defense, athleticism). 75% of Reds Army readers thought Lasme 'deserved' the final roster spot, compared to 21% for Water.
Tiny Gallon is technically still on the roster, but he'll likely be nothing more than a body in practice before taking the train up to Maine.
As for Lasme, he's not a lock for the Red Claws. There's always the chance another team will snag him.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Glen Davis on his contract | Herald – Drawing a line for Rondo | Rondo in Men's Fitness | Ray Allen leads starters in big 3rd quarter | ESPN Boston – Postgame notes | CSNNE – Wafer just wants to play basketball | Allen proves he can get hot at any moment | Pierce: Window's open as long as I'm here |