Charged up


PHILADELPHIA -- Standing next to each other on one side of the paint, Boston Celtics teammates Jermaine O'Neal and Glen Davis saw, at precisely the same moment, a Sixers ball-handler ready to drive from the opposite baseline.

Like two shoppers racing for a must-have Christmas gift on Black Friday, the two practically pushed each other out of the way trying to scramble over and draw an offensive foul.

In a way, it seemed appropriate. These two figure to be pushing each other to take charges all season long.

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Jermaine O'Neal has struggled offensively, but his defense has impressed Doc Rivers."It's a contest this year: Who can draw the most charges," O'Neal said after the game with a big grin. "And I believe I'm going to win it."

After making his debut Sunday, O'Neal anointed himself the undisputed charge champion of the world. All he's missing is a Rasheed Wallace-like title belt. It's an art he takes great pride in and isn't bashful about telling one and all how good he is at it.

Even if someone who disagrees with him happens to wear stripes.

The charge tally during Boston's 103-92 preseason loss to the Sixers on Tuesday between O'Neal and Davis was at one apiece when O'Neal stepped in as Andres Nocioni plowed into him while driving baseline in the third quarter.

The whistle blew and O'Neal looked up from the ground expecting to see the referee pointing in the opposite direction. Instead, the referee's fists hit his hips indicating a blocking foul on O'Neal, who then earned a technical foul for voicing his displeasure while on his back.

That's how serious O'Neal is about taking charges.

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