Friday, February 4, 2011
Pregame notes: Shaq out; Allen in 3-point contest
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal will sit out Friday's game against the Dallas Mavericks due to an inflamed Achilles and coach Doc Rivers suggested he's likely to miss Sunday's game against the Orlando Magic as well.
O'Neal logged just 5:25 in the second half of Tuesday's win over the Sacramento Kings, sitting out the entire fourth quarter, as Boston wrapped up a four-game road trip. O'Neal did not practice Thursday and Rivers admitted Friday that he could be shelved straight through until late next week given the couple days off following Monday's tilt in Charlotte.
"It's a concern enough not to play him," said Rivers. "I don't know if he'll play this entire weekend, so, it's at least that much of a concern. Other than that, I don't know how much."
O'Neal missed three games late last month due to a sore right hip before returning in Phoenix, the second stop on that four-game road trek. Overall, O'Neal has missed 12 games this season due to an assortment of ailments (including a bruised right knee, sore right calf, sore right hip).
With O'Neal out again, Kendrick Perkins will shuffle back into the starting lineup a little earlier than Rivers might have liked.
"We were going to start him after the All-Star break," Rivers noted, while suggesting he'll still try to keep Perkins' minutes low as he works his way back from offseason ACL surgery.
"It's not the total minutes we're concerned by, it's more the minutes in a row."
A couple other quick hits before Friday's game:
* Celtics guard Ray Allen casually dropped the bombshell that he's told the NBA he would be willing to participate in this year's 3-point contest and is under the assumption that he will indeed be going up against teammate and defending champion Paul Pierce at All-Star weekend. Heck, even Rajon Rondo seemed taken aback by the news.
"You're in the 3-point contest?" Rondo asked incredulously, as reporters wondered the same thing.
Said Allen: "I thought you guys knew? I told them already that I'd do it."
The NBA has not officially announced the 3-point participants, so Allen might not be assured a spot, but he's operating under the assumption that he's making his return to an event he's won in the past.
* Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was quite impressed by Boston hauling in four reserve spots on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster. It's part of the reason he couldn't quite identify a specific matchup problem in Friday's game.
"You want me to just pick one?" asked Carlisle. "Well, they've got four All-Stars that were voted by the coaches. That's really saying something. That's only been done [a few] times. Those four guys are legitimate, great, individual players in their own right. All of those guys can cause mayhem in a game. Then you've got four of them that play well together and play unselfishly with each other, so you know, they're going to cause a lot of different challenges for you.
"Their bigger guys do a heck of a job rebounding and scoring around the basket, and passing the ball. The little guys make plays and they all guard well, so, there's a whole host of things. I think for us the thing is that we have got to play a great team game. We've got to really help each other. We've got to win the scramble game, which is, just about every possession at some point ends up in some kind of a scramble for the ball or a scramble offensively where you've got to make a play and, you know, that's where it's at."