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.
Well, against the Bobcats, O’Neal took Doc’s diminished expectations and stuffed them into the strings at either end of the Garden.
With 23 points, five rebounds and five blocks in the 99-94 victory against Charlotte, he was the Big Flashback.
Old as hell?
“I would agree,” Shaq said.
“Maybe I’m going to keep doing that,” Rivers added.
“It’s just too many minutes,” Rivers said of Shaq’s season high (31:37 was tops prior). “You know, tonight we had no choice. It’s not a big deal for one night. I don’t worry about it. We don’t play again until Monday, so that’s nice.”
O’Neal wasn’t worrying either.
“I live in Sudbury,” he said. “The people at Sudbury Farms won’t allow me to eat junk food, so I’m eating salad, eating fish. So I’m really in shape. I’m ready.
This is the beauty of Shaq… every so often he's capable of being one of the best players on the court. He hasn't played this well since a 13 point, 9 rebound performance vs Philly on December 22. And it's been a long time since his monsterous 7 game stretch at the end of November.
He's also a better player when Rondo's on the court. Rajon gets him the ball in the perfect location. And this is a reason why Shaq might hold the starting spot once Kendrick Perkins returns.
Not to knock the big fella, but it does appear as if he's gained some weight since the start of the season. But if he says he's in shape, then he's in shape. Tough to argue with a guy shooting 68%.
On Page 2, Tuesday is D-day for Jermaine.
O’Neal, who admits he needs the surgery, will consult with a doctor in New York on Monday to explore a final (undisclosed) option. He will announce his decision the following day.
“We’re looking at one more option,” he said on Friday prior to the Boston Celtics game against the Charlotte Bobcats. “It’s not really a real option, it’s just basically maintaining, to be honest. The only option left to help the situation is surgery, but surgery puts me almost complete done for the [regular] season.”
O’Neal’s biggest concern is being able to help the Celtics when it counts – the playoffs. If he opts for surgery, O’Neal wants to be sure that he can return without any setbacks and contribute in the postseason. If there are potential complications, on the other hand, he would rather take a chance and play through the pain.
“I think the decision of actually being in or having surgery is really what it’s going to come down to is, does the surgery put me clear from the injury?” he said. “If it doesn’t put me clear from the injury, then I might as well play and get through it. That’s really what it’s going to boil down to.”
I applaud JO for his mentality. Some guys would have the surgery and not think twice. His number one priority is being available for the playoffs.
On the flip side, if the Celtics need to acquire another body… now is the time. So while Jermaine wants to play, the doctors might tell Danny Ainge the odds of JO lasting the throughout June are slim and Danny will have to act now.
The rest of the links: