A few tidbits are filtering in from the team’s shootaround down in Miami, prior to Game 5. Here’s what we know so far, via the Celtics twitter account:
We’ll start with the 39-year-old center, Shaq, who played just three minutes in Game 4, and according to Rivers had a “relapse” with his right calf/Achilles’ problem. Doc considers him doubtful for tonight.
“He’s done everything he could possibly do (to play). When he was originally injured no one even thought it was that serious. It just never healed, and now every time he plays it gets worse.”
Rajon Rondo is also “the same” according to Rivers, who commented that he was removed because of his defense during portions of the final quarter and overtime in Game 4. Here’s Doc again:
“I don’t know how much better he is going to get. He is what he is.”
On Glen Davis’ struggles:
“I have no idea what’s in his mind. I don’t even want to get in there. It’s safer where I’m at.”
CH Analysis: We’ll have plenty of time to dissect the failed bet on Shaquille O’Neal’s health improving in the upcoming weeks by Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers, but this puts a pretty dramatic exclamation point on the decision.
Shaq’s likely final contributions after February 1st 2011 for the record:
11 minutes, 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 4 fouls.
We’re not going to beat up on Shaq here. He’s put too many miles on those tires over the year and was revelation for the first half of this season with the starting five, surpassing the expectations of even the most optimistic of Celtics fans.
Unfortunately, it may have got Ainge a little too amped up over his potential, and fooled him into believing that he and Jermaine O’Neal would be enough to man the center spot when all the chips were on the table. It will be a decision that will leave a bit of a stain on Ainge’s GM legacy in the years to come.
For now though, let’s bring things back to the present. The removal of Shaq, makes Nenad Krstic, Jeff Green, and Glen Davis more relevant than ever for Game 5. Krstic has been dealt a tough hand and a short leash by Doc all postseason, with just first half appearances and brief ones at that.
Expect another one of those tonight, if Shaq can’t go. The team could really use his outside offense, as will as couple offensive boards from the big guy, but his inability to be any kind of an interior presence against LeBron, Wade and company makes him a likely non-factor once again. I just hope Doc gives him enough time to prove us wrong.
Glen Davis, as as we all know, has been a major mess all series. His ineptness forced Doc to go with a three-guard lineup he barely used all season in Game 4 down the stretch, even before Miami made a decision to go small, simply because he didn’t trust Davis on either end against Chris Bosh or Joel Anthony. With that said, he’ll get his minutes tonight and have a shot a redemption. Whether he finds it, remains to be seen.
I’ll have a bit more on Rondo’s situation later on today, but for now a little inspiration from Doc on what he expects out of his guys tonight, who are seven-point underdogs in Vegas:
“They’ve got great pride. I think you’ll see that tonight. I think I’ll enjoy the way we play.”