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Saturday , Dec , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Celtics get David West in sign-and-trade?

David West is close to a three-year sign-and-trade deal just under $30 million with the Celtics.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Boston Celtics have quickly rebuilt their front-court.

Earlier today Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis was sent to the Orlando Magic for Brandon Bass as part of a sign-and-trade, and now they’ve shipped Jermaine O’Neal to the New Orleans Hornets for David West in another sign-and-trade.

Bass, West, and three-man Jeff Green give coach Doc Rivers plenty of options to complement and eventually fill in for the aging Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce.

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Friday , Apr , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Celtics need Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal, and Krstic healthy to win NBA Title?

Krstic left with 2:18 left in the first half of Thursday's game after landing awkwardly on his right leg. His knee became bent out of shape and he immediately felt the pain. With the help of Celtics trainer Ed Lacerte, Krstic limped off the floor. Krstic will return home to Boston where he will undergo an MRI on Friday.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call:  Suddenly, the Boston Celtics are thin at center.
 
Remember, the green-and-white signed the two O’Neals, Jermaine and Shaquille this summer. Depth was one reason executive Danny Ainge felt comfortable sending interior defender Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder for forward Jeff Green at the trade deadline.

Injuries, pending free agency, and a plethora of posts, made Perk’ expendable. Or, so the Celtics thought.

Jermaine O’Neal isn’t healthy. He hasn’t been all year. Shaquille O’Neal’s Achilles has kept him out of the line-up for some time. Whenever he returns, fitness will be an issue.

Knowing this, Ainge prudently acquired Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City as part of the Green deal. Now Krstic is out for the foreseeable future with his own knee troubles.

Well, what does this mean?

Suppose the Celtics advance to the NBA Finals. They’ll need size at center to counter, say, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler, or the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan.
 
Some combination of the O'Neals and Krstic must be available to log heavy minutes. And Garnett must be free to roam and help on defence. He does this best when playing power forward.

Sliding The Big Ticket to center makes the defending Eastern Conference champs smaller and limits Garnett's effectiveness.

Hopefully, the Celtics get healthy down low. Returning to the Finals and having any chance at beating the Lakers, or any other western foe, depends on it.  

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Dec , 29 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Lakers need healthy Bynum, not ‘pissed off’ Bryant

Now as for the loss to the Spurs, Kobe said, "I'm just pissed." "That doesn't mean you're going to play mad [against New Orleans] does it?" I said with just the right amount of concern. "I don't know," Kobe said. "I've been playing mad as long as you have been writing mad."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The Los Angeles Lakers don’t need Kobe Bryant pissed off. They do need Andrew Bynum healthy and playing well.

The giant post missed the first two months of the season recovering from knee surgery, and he has struggled to find his form since returning.

Simply put, Bynum, when on his game, makes the Lakers unstoppable. His height (7-1) and wingspan were the difference between winning and losing game-seven of last year’s NBA Finals against the Celtics.

Well, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, as several teams added size to battle Bynum in the playoffs. The Boston Celtics signed Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal; the Dallas Mavericks traded for Tyson Chandler and re-upped with Brendan Haywood; the San Antonio Spurs brought Tiago Splitter from Europe and developed the powerful DeJuan Blair.

Of course, Bryant will be better than yesterday’s game against the Spurs, where he missed 13 straight shots.

However, the purple-and-gold needs a healthy Bynum, not a pissed off Bryant, to win their third consecutive championship.

--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Oct , 03 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaq The Big Unselfish for Boston Celtics?

Shaquille O’Neal practiced with Boston's first unit for the second straight day. Doc Rivers said the plan was to start Jermaine O’Neal at center, but nothing was set in stone.

“I think just watching what [Shaq’s] doing, he doesn’t care [whether he starts],’’ Rivers said. “He just wants to play and help the team. He really wants to prove that he can play still, No. 1. And I think he just wants to win, and you can see that.’’

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Is Shaquille O’Neal really becoming The Big Unselfish?

Reports from Boston have the future Hall of Fame center switching in and out of the first and second units. Right now, he’s happy. Right now, he’s being a good teammate.

This can change. And fast.

Remember, these Celtics get stops. It’s who they are. Their defensive prowess – at home and on the road - gives them a chance in every game.

O’Neal has never been a committed defender. Even during the glory years with the L.A. Lakers, he was reluctant to guard the pick-and-roll.

Over the years, his pick-and-roll defense has gotten worse. Today, opponents run O’Neal through a steady diet of pick-and-roll sets to get easy hoops and draw cheap fouls on the big man.

Suppose O’Neal doesn’t improve his pick-and roll ‘D’. How long before coach Doc Rivers rotates in Glen Davis and/or Jermaine O’Neal? What happens when defensive star Kendrick Perkins returns from his knee injury?

Well, nobody knows exactly how minutes will be dispersed. However, Boston’s plethora of bigs will have to check their egos and put the team first.

This is where O’Neal could struggle. He’s always been the main attraction. Now he’s a supporting piece on a star-laden squad.

Being unselfish in October is easy. It’s much harder in May and June when you’re a former MVP and watching from the bench.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Aug , 31 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Shaquille O’Neal now The Big Realist for Boston Celtics

"I'm much older now," he said. "This team is good with or without me. Sometimes, in order to win, you have to sacrifice. I don't mind sacrificing. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning."

"I'm going to do what I'm told to do. Whatever they need me to do. I'm not in a position to cause trouble or cause a ruckus. The reason why younger in my career I acted a fool is because they made me the CEO. If I'm the CEO and I'm getting all the blame, we're going to start doing it my way."

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It seems age, weight, and getting engaged to a woman named Hoopz has turned Shaquille O’Neal into The Big Realist.

Instead of demanding minutes, instead of demanding adulation, instead of demanding to be the star or co-star, O’Neal realizes – and more importantly accepts - he’s a bit part for the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

They’ve already got their Big Four. They’ve already established a formula for success.

However, O’Neal can still play an important role. Starting center Kendrick Perkins is out until mid season because of a knee injury sustained in game six of the NBA Finals.

While Perkins is recovering, O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal are expected to plug the middle. If Shaq can defend, rebound, and score, he’ll have fulfilled his role for the Celtics.

And maybe he’ll get rewarded with a fifth and final NBA Championship before finally retiring.
     
--Oly Sandor.

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