Celtics

Celtics decide to sit Jermaine O'Neal

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Celtics decide to sit Jermaine O'Neal

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON And now for the latest installment of Strategic rest: The April Edition.

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers has elected to hold Jermaine O'Neal out of tonight's game against Washington.

"He wanted to play, but I didn't think he should play," Rivers said.

O'Neal, who has played relatively well in the five games since returning to the Celtics lineup following Feb. 5 surgery on his left knee, does not appear to have suffered any kind of relapse or some other type of injury.

"He's played a bunch of games," Rivers said.

After tonight, the Celtics play three games in four days and O'Neal has told Rivers he wants to play in all three games.

"I thought this would be a good game for him to sit," Rivers said.

Replacing O'Neal in the starting lineup will be Nenad Krstic, who has 18 starts this season for the Celtics since he was acquired via trade from Oklahoma City on Feb. 24.

When O'Neal does return, it's unclear if his minutes will increase.

Since returning to the lineup, he has averaged 15 minutes per game.

Although Rivers wouldn't commit to playing O'Neal more, he did say that he has to tweak the way he has handled his minutes.

"The only thing I would do better or different with J.O., is we're sitting him too long," Rivers said. "So I'm going ot try and play we only play him about five, six minutes in a row. And do it five minutes sit, play him again. That might be easier for him."

In other injury-related news, the Celtics have no timetable for when Shaquille O'Neal (right calf) will return to the floor.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

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Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
 
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
 
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
 
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
 
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
 
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
 
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.