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.
"Ray looked at me the other day and said, 'Are you guys playing tag or something?'" Jermaine O'Neal said with a laugh before sitting out Boston's practice session Wednesday morning at the American Airlines Arena. "He said, 'We do have more than one O'Neal jersey, so you guys can play together.'"
Celtics coach Doc Rivers suggested it was "likely" both O'Neals would sit out with their matching knee ailments…
After missing five straight games, Shaq returned to the practice court for the first time Wednesday, hoping to gauge his ability to play. He lasted the entire session and departed with a Shaq-sized ice wrap over the tender right knee. The Celtics will evaluate his progress at Thursday's morning shootaround, but of the two, he's probably more likely to play against the Heat.
Jermaine, who took himself out of the second half of Monday's loss to the Mavericks, did not participate in Wednesday's practice and said he'll have to wait to see how his knee responds overnight before a decision can be made on his availability.
Shaq looked fairly nimble yesterday at practice. I think he's going to play. Jermaine's situation is a bit trickier. But the fact that he's getting fitted for a brace, makes me think he will give it a shot tonight.
Something to consider: After tonight, the Celtics have one game (Saturday @Memphis) over 5 days. If Jermaine can "tough it out" tonight, there's significant rest on the horizon.
For those curious about tonight's line, the Heat are 6.5 point favorites.
On Page 2, insight into Chris Bosh's "struggles" in Miami.
Bosh’s usage rate is 20 percent, meaning one-fifth of Miami’s possessions end with his shooting, turning the ball over, attempting a free throw, etc. That’s the sort of usage rate we’d expect from an average player; Bosh used up nearly 30 percent of Toronto’s possessions last season. Granted, his usage rate was bound to take a hit when he decided to play alongside two other big stars in Miami, but his 20-percent figure is still not what we’d expect from a player of his caliber.
Bosh did not attempt a shot or draw a foul after the 5:11 mark of the fourth quarter Tuesday night despite being on the floor for that entire stretch — and being matched with slow-footed Kyrylo Fesenko, who clearly could not guard him.
How can you not blame Spoelstra? He needs to get in the face of Wade and James and demand they get Bosh the ball when he's got a mismatch.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Can't stand the Heat | Davis facing tall order | Heat learning curve skids to halt at home | Big question for O'Neals | Jackie Mac – Heat back to square one | Herald – Miami trying to live up to hype | Size matters vs Heat | ESPN Boston – Shaq talks Sudbury | CSNNE – Thomsen: Heat lack toughness | Heat have holes in front line | McHale: Cs defense as solid as ever | SI – Shaq interviews Shaq |