A day of Shaq sights and sounds


A day of Shaq sights and sounds

By Jessica Camerato

WALTHAM - Delonte West stepped down off a stool as he finished addressing a pack of reporters. Suddenly, there was a scurry to move the stool out of the way. Shaquille O'Neal was due up next, and reaching a microphone or recorder up to the big man would be nearly impossible if he weren't given a few more inches.

O'Neal's presence was felt in more ways than one on Celtics Media Day. Whether he was drawing an overflowing crowd during an interview or attracting a group of onlookers while he posed for photos, Number 36 was the number one topic of conversation.

Following Doc's Orders: MVP awards, All-Star selections, statistical accomplishments . . . O'Neal has amassed so many personal achievements that they aren't the reason why he plays basketball any more. He signed with the Celtics to help them win a title, whatever the role entails.

"Whatever Doc needs me to do, that's what I'm going to do," O'Neal said. "You know, when I first came in, my first 17 years were all about me and scoring, and now that that part of my game is over, now it's time for me to be a damn good role player. So whatever Doc and the city of Boston needs me to do, that's what I'm going to do."

It's Not About Kobe: When Kobe Bryant captured his fifth NBA championship with a Game Seven win over the Celtics in June, he proclaimed, "I just got one more than Shaq." O'Neal heard the comment . . . he just isn't focusing on it during his quest for number five.

"Yeah, I heard it," he said. "My whole career I've been the measuring stick for excellence, so I'm glad to see I'm still relevant. But I would've been more upset, more hurt if Tim Duncan would've made the comment. I don't compete with guards. They have the ball more than I do, they shoot way more than I do, you can't compete with guards. I'm only competing with Tim Duncan, so hopefully I can get number five before Tim Duncan gets it, respectfully competing with Tim Duncan."

Light on his feet: ONeal has laid off hamburgers, fried chicken, macaroni, and cornbread to stay in shape this summer. He clocks in at 345 pounds, a weight he plans on maintaining throughout the season. His teammates have noticed how well he is moving on the court.

"We've played in a couple pickup games," said Paul Pierce. "He looks good, just him getting up and down the court. In one pickup game, he got three fast-break layups. You don't really hardly hear about Shaq getting fast-break layups. But he's looked good. I think he's looked better than I guess people anticipated. A lot of people say he comes and gets in shape in camp, but he looks really good in the pickup games we've playing the last couple of weeks."
A Voice of Experience: West played with O'Neal last season on the Cavaliers and looks forward to sharing a locker room with him again. He describes watching O'Neal interact with the Celtics' Big Three as "unreal" and believes the entire team can learn from him in his 19th season.

"Just playing with him for the time I did in Cleveland, this guy has so much to offer, so much knowledge, the young guys hanging on to his every word," said West. "At the end of the day, in my opinion, he's still one of the top 10 players to ever do it. There's a lot of knowledge there. He's won championships and for some reason we still have this opinion in our minds, we still hope he goes out and scores 50 and has 25 rebounds and breaks five backboards in one game. He just wants to win and we talk about it all the time. We did all last year. He just wants to help win and do what he does to help the team win."

Added Danny Ainge, "Shaq obviously has a great deal of cache in our locker room because of what he's accomplished in his career . . . Shaq's been around a long time and I think he wants to win as bad as anybody, so I have a great deal of confidence that he'll be a positive influence in our locker room."

Comfortable in Green: O'Neal admits he never pictured himself wearing a Celtics uniform early in his career. But now that he's slipped on the white and green jersey, he likes the way it looks.

"I never really envisioned myself being here as a young guy, but sitting back this summer I made a very important decision to come to a team that was rich in the tradition of winning," he explained. "I watched the guys last year, especially when they beat us the Cavaliers, and I've been a fan of the Big Three and how they've been playing a long time. I figured this is a place I want to spend my last 735 days."

O'Neal added, "For me, I've always been a smart businessman and always been a guy to take advantage of opportunities. So it was an opportunity for me to come here and play with some great guys and hopefully we can get it done. Because I know if we get it done, I'll be, I think, the first guy to win with three different teams. I like making history, so hopefully it happens."

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato

Ray Allen tells court he was 'catfished'


Ray Allen tells court he was 'catfished'

ORLANDO, Fla. — Retired NBA star Ray Allen said he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.

Allen filed an emergency motion in Orange County, Florida, on Tuesday, one day after Bryant Coleman told the court he is being stalked by the 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion.

Allen said Coleman is the one who is stalking.

“Coleman pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in Ray Allen,” read the motion filed on Allen’s behalf. “Ray believed he was speaking with these women and communicated with them.”

Attorney David Oscar Markus released a statement saying Allen took legal action in an effort to put an end to threats against him and his family, and that Allen was the victim “of an online scheme to extract money and embarrass him by someone who appears to be troubled.”

In the filing, Allen said Coleman threatened to reveal details of their conversations, and that the sides eventually struck a deal to keep everything private. Allen said that deal has been violated and that Coleman has continued to harass him and his family through several social-media accounts.

“He posted about Ray’s wife, Ray’s children, Ray’s dog, Ray’s homes, Ray’s wife’s restaurant, and numerous other personal items,” read the motion. “Coleman not only posted about these things, he would actually post while physically located inside Ray’s wife’s restaurant in Orlando. And he would make sure they knew it, tagging Ray and his wife on those posts.”

Allen asked the court to stop Coleman from “cyber-stalking.” It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found.

“Ray regrets ever engaging with this person online and is thankful they never met in person,” Markus said. “This experience has negatively impacted Ray, and he hopes that others might use his mistake to learn the dangers of communicating online with strangers.”

Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made. He starred in college at UConn and won championships with the Celtics in 2008 and Miami in 2013, the second title coming after he made one of the most dramatic shots in playoff history — a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in regulation of Game 6 of The Finals against San Antonio, a game that the Heat would win in overtime to extend the series to a seventh game.

Allen also played for Milwaukee and Seattle, and last appeared in the league in 2014. He and his family have lived in the Miami area since.

© 2017 by The Associated Press 

Blakely's takeaways: Stevens downplays Celtics' streak

Blakely's takeaways: Stevens downplays Celtics' streak

Brad Stevens likes the fact that the Celtics have shown an unusually strong resolve this season by consistently finding ways to win on nights when they don’t play their best.
It’s to the point now where fans, as well as the players, feel no deficit is too steep to overcome.


That said, there’s a level of expectations on this team now that you would think would bring about a heightened level of pressure, right?
They’ve won 16 in a row, the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
Not according to Stevens.
“Coaching basketball is not pressure,” Stevens told reporters after Monday night’s win. “Playing basketball is not real pressure. Sometimes we overdo this stuff. We’re just trying to prepare well for the next game. That’s all we’ve done, that’s all we’ll continue to do. The streak doesn’t mean anything to me; maybe it does to the guys in the room. But it’s about finding ways to get better and finding ways to get the job done.”
Here are five other takeaways from the 110-102 overtime win at Dallas that extended Boston’s winning streak to 16:

There may not be a player on this team – maybe in the NBA – that’s more difficult to get a read on, than Marcus Smart. He has been a historically bad shooter throughout his career in Boston. And yet when you look at their 16-game winning streak, he’s one of the main reasons for it. He plays with an edge; he’s gritty and defends at a level that few can match. He makes big plays in big moments. But he's having his worst season ever shooting the ball yet his impact when he’s on the floor has never been greater. So, what do you do if you’re Stevens? You keep playing him. Because as much as his poor shooting hurts the team’s overall scoring, he makes so many clutch plays whether it’s facilitating, defending or – wait for it – making shots. He adds tremendous value to winning, even if his shooting numbers might suggest otherwise.

When you’re getting “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants on the road, you know you’re ballin’ hard. Kyrie Irving wowed the Dallas crowd with 47 points, 10 of which came in overtime as Boston rallied after facing a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. If the numbers continue to climb along with the win total, Irving will continue to cement himself as a top-five MVP candidate. 

One of the few constants in Boston’s string of success has been their rebounding. Against the Mavericks, the Celtics once again won the battle on the boards, 53-45. And it hasn’t been one or two players, either. Against Dallas, the Celtics had five players grab at least four rebounds with no one securing more than nine. That kind of rebounding balance makes Boston an extremely difficult team to out-work on the glass.

The scoring punch we’ve come to expect lately from Horford just wasn’t there against Dallas. Instead, he seemed more consumed with getting others (mainly Irving) involved offensively. He missed four of his five shots from the field and scored just three points. But he almost had a double-double in rebounds (eight) and assists (seven) along with blocking a couple of shots. And as always, his plus/minus was among the best on the team with the Celtics being +7 when he was on the floor.

While Irving was delivering one big shot after another down the stretch, one of his running partners in late-game situations this season has been Jayson Tatum. He ranks among the league’s best shooters in the fourth quarter and Monday’s victory only solidified his status. Against the Mavericks, Tatum had six points and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field. According to NBA.com/stats, Tatum is shooting 64.1 percent in the fourth quarter, which ranks eighth in the NBA among players who take at least two field goal attempts per game in the fourth. Right ahead of him is teammate Marcus Morris (65 percent).