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Boston had no Shaq in Game 1, but will by Game 3

May 1, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT

Image (1) Shaq_fist-thumb-250x374-20454.jpg for post 4198

There are a number a number of things Boston is going to have to change if they plan to win this series against the Heat. Game 1 went very poorly for Boston. Changes have to start with execution issues, particularly on the defensive end, but there is a laundry list.

Something they could use is to get Shaquille O’Neal back on the floor. And it appears they will.

According to our man A. Sherrod Blakely at CSN New England, Doc Rivers said that Shaq couldn’t go in Game 1 but will soon.

“He’s getting very close,” Rivers said. “We actually had to make a decision (on whether he would play) today. So that’s better than what we’ve had to do in the past.”

Rivers added that O’Neal might play in Game 2 on Tuesday, and “for sure in Game 3.”

Shaq alone does not swing the series, but he does change some things.

Game 1 followed a regular pattern for the Heat this playoffs, Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas start and the game stays close (against Philly the Heat usually fell behind) then Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers enter midway through the quarter and the Heat go on a run. While single-game +/- stats can be deceiving (and Anthony played a lot with James Jones to skew them in Game 1), the fact Anthony was a Heat-best +15 in Game 1 follows a playoffs trend.

One Shaq may well change. While Anthony brings energy and shot blocking, he is undersized at 6’9”. Shaq can push him around and score inside. Even now, even hobbled. Shaq can change the Anthony dynamic. It’s a tool Rivers can use.

And from the looks of Game 1, he’s going to need to use a lot of tools if the Celtics are to advance.

  1. bhester1906 - May 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Shaq is not going to make a difference. Really, lets get serious. He hasn’t palyed since Feb. You think he is going to change things all of a sudden??? He has to get in shape again…That’s gonna take a pretty long time for 400lb 39 years. I don’t care how outstanding of an athlete Shaq is…

  2. purdueman - May 1, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    old Shaq? Getting up out of his wheelchair to save the Celtics? Bwahahahahhaha! The only time Shaq now gets out of his wheelchair is when his semi-monthly check arrives in the mail and he has to go down to the bank to cash it!

  3. drmonkeyarmy - May 1, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    I don’t like Shaq and generally think Kurt is something of a hack, but he is right on this one. Shaq’s size will create problems for Joel Anthony. Regardless of age, you can’t match Anthony up one on one with Shaq. He will get abused. Nobody is talking about giving Shaq 30 minutes a night. Just 12-15 to throw off the Heat’s rotation. Force them to either double Shaq or leave Big Z on the floor…either way it benefits the Celtics.

    • hnirobert3 - May 2, 2011 at 8:11 AM

      They’re called adjustments, dude. Obviously the Spo is not going to play Anthony on Shaq. That’s what Dampier is for. When Shaq heads to the bench (or locker room, if injured) then Joel comes in to do Joel things.

      • drmonkeyarmy - May 2, 2011 at 4:51 PM

        You made my point. Using Shaq will cause the Heat to have to adjust their rotation and game plan.

  4. jm9ulose - May 2, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Shaquille will benefit Boston greatly if he can even give them 15 minutes per game. Joel has problems against bulky centers because he is undersized. Zydrunas has played very poorly with the exception of 1 game against Philly last series. He looked completely lost on the court today and was ineffective-to put it mildly. So you know Joel will still get the bulk of the minutes. Shaq’s presence would somewhat negate Anthony’s shot blocking prowess because he would have to put a body on Shaq to keep him off the offensive glass. Therefore more room for Rondo to penetrate and finish or kick out to his shooters. As a Heat fan it does worry me a little. Even though most will say he is washed up, he is still a space-eater and can still be effective in spurts.

  5. hnirobert3 - May 2, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    He’ll be back by game three and he’ll be out within 10 minutes of entering the game.

  6. omniusprime - May 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Shaq needs to suck it up and play in game 2, not wait until game 3 when it might be too late. The Ancient Celtics have been here before and have proven they can come back, as long as the refs don’t steal the games from them. Queen James has proven he can lose a lead and a series he’s supposed to win and he’ll do so again. I know this is blasphemy for a die hard old Laker fan to say but “Go Celtics”! We want to have that rubbermatch 3rd Finals series with the Celtics, the ultimate in NBA Finals parings.

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