The answer to the number-one Google autocomplete above is finally “no.” I mean, it’s probably more ambiguous than that, but the point is the Celtics have Shaquille O’Neal in their lineup tonight. Will it be for five minutes? Seven minutes? Even, dare we imagine, as many as thirteen minutes? Heavens.
“We started out great. We played great basketball with Shaq in the middle. I think it’ll be easier for Shaq to return in a starting position, which I think he has earned with his play this year.”
Everyone in the world knows that Danny Ainge said that. But since he uttered those words, Shaq has played six total minutes before he got a little careless and ran at three-quarter speed down the court, straining his calf. That injury came out of absolutely nowhere and was caused by absolutely nothing, so it’s a lot to hope for that Shaq will be at full strength in this game, or that he’ll last through the series. Knock on a forest.
But if he’s good? If he protects the rim, pulls down a few boards, and generally makes things difficult for the Heat under the basket? If he passes Kobe, who passed him last night, for third all-time in playoff scoring? That would certainly be a thing.
Get excited no matter what, because with a win tonight, the Celtics have a chance to tie at home and get this down to a three-game series with momentum. A loss this evening makes a comeback nearly impossible, but that loss is definitely not a foregone conclusion. Never doubt how much the players want this, and how hard they’re going to work to get it tonight.
Open thread. LET’S GO.