Celtics

Friday FT's: Shaq vs. Canseco; Barkley on Big Baby

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Friday FT's: Shaq vs. Canseco; Barkley on Big Baby

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read. In spite of the NBA lockout, there's still plenty of hoops to talk about.

Would you want to go toe-to-toe with Shaquille O'Neal? Jose Canseco does.

On November 12, Shaq tweeted, "What up Dana white I wanna fight Jose conseco hook it up.

11 days later later, Canseco responded on his own Twitter account. I accept shaqs challenge to fight him let's get it on ., he wrote. He added, Shaq tell ur girlfriend Dana white to make Thu fight happen.

ONeal has yet to respond, but thats not to say this is the end of their twitter chatter.

Barkley Curious About Big Baby

During a recent interview with ESPN Radio Chicago, Charles Barkley was asked which NBA player he thinks will be the most overweight and out of shape when the lockout is over. He predicted it would be a big man, and then expressed curiosity in a certain player who has donned green and white for the past four seasons:

Thats a great question. I will promise you this its probably going to be a big guy, because big guyslike guards like to go shoot around and play, guards love that. But big guys, theyll go lift some weights and do stuff like that, but theyre not going to go run up and down the court. So its going to be a big guy. Thats a great question.

I tell you what I want to see Big Baby Davis when he comes back. I want to see Big Baby Davis. I love that kid, he works his behind off, but playing basketball everyday, thats going to be interesting.

Read more about how Glen Davis is adjusting to life during the lockout here.

What Does Metta World Peace Miss about Hoops?

Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) took to Twitter this week to list his thoughts on the NBA. Among them, I miss Shannon dunking on ray Allen like the rim was 8 ft. He also challenged Michael Jordan to a game of one-on-one to end the lockout (which he says he would win under some challenging circumstances, Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban to an arm wrestling match, and Jay-Z to a rap battle.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@Aabradley11: Haven't had a thanksgiving with my family since 3rd grade... I'm so thankful... Happy thanksgiving everybody !!

This Week in Celtics History

On November 19, 1992 the Celtics waived Joe Wolf. ... The C's waived Larry Sykes and signed Thomas Hamilton as a free agent on November 24, 1995. ... On November 25, 1996 the Celtics waived Nate Driggers. They also waived Kevin Pritchard on the same day in 1991.

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Former Celtic Marcus Banks turned 30 on November 19. Banks was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies and traded to the Celtics with Kendrick Perkins in exchange for Troy Bell and Dahntay Jones in 2003. ... The late Reggie Lewis was born on November 21, 1965. He would have been 46 years old. Two-time champion Cedric Maxwell turned 56 on the 21st. He won titles with the Celtics in 1981 and 1984. ... Former Celtic Vin Baker turned 40 on November 23. Baker was traded from the Seattle SuperSonics to Celtics in July of 2002 and was released in February of 2004. ... Hall of Famer Dave Bing turned 68 on November 24. He played the final season of his career with the Celtics in 1977-78, averaging 13.6 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. ... Erick Strickland turned 38 on November 25. He played 79 games for the Celtics during the 2001-02 season.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Mavericks

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Mavericks

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Mavericks in Dallas. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: C's need to play Smart in Dallas

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics-Mavericks preview: C's need to play Smart vs. Dallas

Celtics-Mavericks preview: C's need to play Smart vs. Dallas

Get it done. No excuses.
 
That has been how the Boston Celtics have played most of this season.
 
And if there’s one Celtics player who embodies that on this team, it’s Marcus Smart.
 
The fourth-year guard has struggled all season with his shot-making, but when the game is on the line in the fourth quarter you can count on Smart to be on the floor.

THE WINNING STREAK

He has been among the many reasons Boston has won 15 in a row, which is the fifth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
 
And Smart will be among the Celtics looking to keep it going tonight against the Dallas Mavericks.
 
Most likely, Smart will make an impact with his defense, which is among the best in the NBA.

How good?
 
Smart has a defensive rating of 93.4 (points allowed per 100 possessions) which is tops among all guards in the NBA, and ranks third among all players who have played in at least 10 games this season.
 
But in the 110-99 win over the Hawks, Smart knocked down a couple of 3-pointers which was a big deal considering how mightily he has struggled shooting the ball this season.
 
Smart is shooting 27.3 percent from the field as well as from 3-point range – both career lows.
 
However, he’s also averaging career highs in assists (4.5) and rebounds (5.1) this season.
 
And while he certainly doesn’t appear to be affected by the shooting struggles, he acknowledges that it is something that he can’t help but think about from time to time.
 
“It does affect you, especially if you’ve been working (on shooting) all summer,” Smart said. “At the same time, I don’t take as many shots. But like I said, we got other guys who are playing well. My job is to get them the ball and do whatever I can, go back down the floor, play defense and get the ball again.”

In Boston’s win over Atlanta, Smart spent a good amount of time defending Marco Belinelli who had four points on 2-for-10 shooting compared to 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting when these two teams met earlier this month.
 
Coach Brad Stevens pointed to the job Smart did on Belinelli, in addition to the clutch offensive rebound he was able to snag and quickly put back up and in that gave Boston a 103-95 game with about two minutes to play.
 
“He was really good,” Stevens said.
 
The same could be said for most of the Celtics of late.
 
Kyrie Irving is coming off his most efficient game of the season, tallying 30 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field. Jayson Tatum had a rough start, but he came on strong as well with 14 points – all coming in the second half.
 
But the backbone of Boston’s success lies in what they’re able to get done defensively.
 
So far, Boston’s defense has been as strong as we’ve seen this early, in quite some time.
 
Boston, which has a league-best defensive rating of 95.9, has length, savvy and an overall total buy-in by the players on what Brad Stevens is looking for, from them.
 
Meanwhile, the Mavericks (3-14) are coming off their most impressive victory this season, a 111-79 win over Milwaukee.  Dennis Smith Jr. has been among the more talented rookies this season. He’s averaging 14.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Dallas is indeed in a transition period where longtime superstar Dirk Nowitzki (10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds per game) is gradually passing the torch to his younger teammates like Harrison Barnes (18.7 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Smith Jr.
 
Much like the Hawks game, the Celtics must approach this game with a focus on the opponent and not their record.
 
Because the Celtics are no longer just a good team on the schedule. They are a measuring stick for most to see how they stack up against the league’s best.
 
And the Celtics understand how their success has changed how teams see them.
 
“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE