Thursday , Dec , 18 , 2008 Christopher Sells

Shaq’s Delusions, Boos and Booz

Shaq's Delusions, Boos and BoozCeltics keep winning
Last night’s Celtics/Hawks matchup lived up to the hype, with the game coming down to free throws and with Boston getting a monster fourth quarter from Kevin Garnett to seal the win. Boston’s streak is now at 16. Boston’s next three games are at home against Chicago, New York and Philadelphia, which are all winnable games. Assuming they win those, they’ll get the chance to go for their 20th straight against the Lakers on Christmas Day. The two games after that are Golden State and Sacramento. We Rockets fans are depending on you, L.A. Let us have our piece of history alone.

Brand out
Elton Brand is going to miss a month after dislocating his shoulder last night. If you saw the fall, you know that it could have been much worse. It’s not good when your feet are over your head at any point when you’re in the air. Usually a team worries when its best player goes down to injury, but Philly hasn’t played well this year and some think that Brand’s presence may have something to do with it. If that’s the case, the team has some time to try to gain ground in the East before having to figure all of this stuff out again.

A legend in his own mind
Shaquille O’Neal’s best days are behind him. Everyone seems to know that but Shaq. He had this to say after the Suns’ practice yesterday:

"I could average 27 and 10 in this league easily," O’Neal said. "Easily. In this conference, in this league, easily. Eyes closed.

"I can, but I’ve got to get the opportunities. I’m not really the first option on this team but when I get it down there, I’ll do what I do. Like I told everybody, ‘You want me to be Shaq?’ Then I’ve got to get Shaq touches and Shaq opportunities. I just can’t be taking five shots… and then you look at me like I’m old. I could average 27 and 10 until I’m 50."

Um, sure you could, dude. Is this with you sitting out half of the back-to-backs like you are now? Look Shaq, we know you’re in the argument for best center ever, but that’s based on you not being 36 years old. I would, however, like to see Shaq trying to play at 50, getting slathered up with some Ben Gay or Icy Hot, sauntering up the court once every other trip. Make it happen.

Homecourt Disadvantage
Things aren’t looking up for the Raptors. They’ve fallen to last in the Atlantic Division and lost eight of their last ten games. Hiring Jay Triano was supposed to stop the bleeding, but instead the team seems to be regressing. In the middle of all of this is Chris Bosh. Bosh is putting up about 24 and 10 per game but he hasn’t played as well lately as he did in the earlier part of the year, when he was scoring all over the place. The fans have taken notice and they’ve started to voice their displeasure, booing the team last night in their game against Dallas. Bosh is not pleased:

"If I wanted to get booed, I’d go on the road. It’s real tense right now. When you’re down three points at home and you’re hearing boos, that’s kind of disheartening.

"Whether the crowd knows it or not, they play a big part in the game."

I’d normally say that he should get over it, but the fans need to realize that Bosh can leave after next season, or he could force a trade any time before then. Keep the man happy, because he’s all that the team has going for it. Vince Carter is not walking through that door. Tracy McGrady is not walking through that door. Not wearing a Raptors uniform, anyway. Chris Bosh is the beginning and end of that franchise right now and his unhappiness will likely mean that he’ll be wearing some other team’s colors.

Free (Agent) Booze(r)
Most players deflect questions about their impending free agency, LeBron James excluded. You always get cliched answers talking about how their agent is handling it and how they still have a whole season to play before they start thinking about that sort of thing. Carlos Boozer is not following the rules. He came out and said that he’ll be opting out of his contract in the coming offseason, no doubt about it.

"I’m opting out. No matter what, I’m going to get a raise regardless," Boozer told "I am going to opt out, I don’t see why I wouldn’t, I think it’s a very good business decision for me and my family, but I’d also like to see what happens with the Jazz and stay here."

A bold statement in these times of economic hardship. In case you’re wondering, Boozer makes $11.6 million this year and would make $12.66 million if he were to play out his contract. Any time you hear the words "Boozer" and "contract" in the same sentence, you think back to his dealings with the Cavaliers. While I doubt things will be that eventful, this clearly makes things more interesting this summer.

I also wonder if Boozer wanted to avoid including himself in the 2010 free agent crop, knowing that he’s a step under the marquee names that will be demanding the big bucks. In any case, Utah shouldn’t be too worried, since Paul Millsap doesn’t exactly suck and they can retain his services for a lower price than Boozer’s. Let the Miami rumors begin.