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.
While O’Neal would be satisfied operating with his current heath issues, he can’t take the court without the blessings of team physician Dr. Brian McKeon, coach Doc Rivers and teammates Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.
“I would have liked to have been out there (in Milwaukee) with the guys (Sunday) night,” O’Neal said. “But I was ordered not to by (the) Docs and the Big 3 and that they want me back at 100 percent. I tried to run on it the other day and it felt pretty good, but afterward it didn’t and I kind of took a step back. Hopefully in a few days or a week or so I’ll be back. Hopefully another week.”
If the playoffs were to begin tonight, O’Neal said he would take his foot medicine and be out on the floor.
“Yes, and I would probably have to go back to a little old-school tactics,” O’Neal said. “But I have to give credit to Doc McKeon and Doc Rivers because they wouldn’t let me shoot it up and go out. I’m an old-school guy. If I can walk I can play, and I’ve had to shoot it up many times. But they want me 100 percent healthy and I’m getting there. Right now I’m about 85 percent.”
Am I concerned about Shaq? Yes… a tiny bit. It's hard to have confidence in a 39-year old center with a bad wheel.
But it appears that all parties involved realize that only one thing matters: having Shaq healthy for the playoffs.The question remains – how rusty will Shaq be? He hasn't played since February 1. Fortunately, everyone is raving about his weight loss (alleged 15 pounds).
On Page 2, rave reviews for Sasha Pavlovic's defense.
"He always took the better of the two wing players," (former Cavs coach Mike) Brown told CSNNE.com. "He took that person most of the whole game. Sasha allowed us, because of his size and length and the way he plays, he allowed us to get away with LeBron getting a, quote-unquote, rest on the defensive end of the floor which was a positive for us."
Pavlovic has only played one game for the Celtics, but it's clear that his defensive skills are already winning over coach Doc Rivers.
"He was phenomenal," Rivers said about Pavlovic's defense. "He may have been our best defensive player on the floor [against the Bucks]. He was unbelievable."
While Rivers agrees that his size and athleticism are often overlooked, Rivers added, "and his heart and toughness. A lot of people from Cleveland were saying, 'He'll fight you all night. He's not going to back up.' We need that at that position, so that was good to see."
Despite Doc's complimentary words, I don't think anyone is excited about Pavlovic. No surprise considering he was unemployed.
Can he fill a role for this team? Yes. He'll gobble up minutes in blowouts and meaningless end of season games. I believe John coined the nickname "Geico." We'll only care about his game if something happens to Paul Pierce or Jeff Green.
Related link: Herald – Pavlovic defensive about place on team
Random note: The Celtics are the first team to clinch a playoff spot. Champagne anyone?
The rest of the links: