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.
Add maestro to the Big Shamrock’s resume. Shaquille O’Neal hit Symphony Hall last night to join the Boston Pops as guest conductor at the orchestra’s holiday show.
Before his big moment, the Celts center got a primer from Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, who told him to “just keep going’’ when he got a little nervous with the baton.
But the NBA legend quickly caught on during rehearsal, guiding the Pops in his own way through lively renditions of “Sleigh Ride,’’ MJ’s “Can You Feel It?’’ and, perhaps to pad the hopes of Celtics fans, “We Are the Champions.’’
He told reporters before going live that he had a newfound respect for conductors.
“My arms are shot,’’ he said.
I've blasted Shaq in the past for all of his off-court activities – rapping, movies, wrestling, the reality show, etc. My standard line being… "He's distracted and not focused on winning a championship."
Since signing with the Celtics, he hasn't slowed down. Last night, he conducted the Boston Pops.
Cue the criticism right? Well….
While injuries have kept him off the floor for 9 games, he's been fantastic. He's shooting a career best 67%. He's the team's new enforcer. His inability to defend the pick-and-roll was supposed to kill the Cs defense. The Celtics are 2nd in points allowed and 5th in opponents FG%.
My only advice for Shaq: Keep it up, big fella.
On Page 2, more details on Delonte's return.
The cast will be removed from his wrist Dec. 30, and West has set an ambitious target for a return.
He hopes to be back on the floor between mid- and late-January…
“You would like to get guys back as much as possible to get the starters some relief,” West said. “Unfortunately the starters are the ones playing most of the minutes. If we can get Paul (Pierce), Ray (Allen), (Kevin Garnett) and Rondo some time just to give their legs rest — even six minutes a game more — they’ll definitely benefit going into the stretch run.
“Winning right now is nice, but we want to be winning heading into June,” he said. “I get this off the 30th (of December), so I can think about January. A bone takes 4-6 weeks to heal, and I’ve already put three weeks in. I’ll get tests on the 30th, and then I can do some rehabilitation.”
Delonte is spot on with regards to rest for Paul, Ray and Rajon. Six minutes a game will make a world of difference come May and June.
The rest of the links:
Globe – Snubbing their noses at experts | CSNNE – Semih's guide to Boston | Bradley takes on idol, friend in TJ Ford | ESPN Boston – Nate Robinson is being himself | NBA.com – Have Cs become a likeable team? | ESPN – Mavs end Heat streak |