Jermaine O’Neal has had the week from hell. When his team needs him the most, O’Neal has disappeared into thin air. Through the first four games of the Celtics-Heat first-round playoff series, O’Neal is shooting 6-34 from the field, or a steaming hot 17.6%.
After being benched in the fourth quarter of Game Four (of which Erik Spoelstra fibbed, “Some would say Jermaine’s minutes were empty [Sunday]. I thought his 18 minutes were productive.”), O’Neal is struggling like almost no man has ever struggled.
“I absolutely couldn’t shoot any worse,” O’Neal admitted to the Miami Herald on Monday. “I’m still trying to figure it out, to get a rhythm. You can’t think so much. You’ve got to let go. You overanalyze everything. You predetermine your moves instead of everything coming in a flow.”
But O’Neal is wrong about not flowing; bricks have been flowing out of O’Neal’s hand like wine while beautiful women instinctively flock Dwyane Wade like the salmon of Capistrano. After shooting so many blanks, only a trip to dinner could cheer up the Heat’s desperately struggling big man. (Miami Herald)
Jermaine O’Neal’s confidence is so low right now that he went out to dinner after the Heat’s win over the Celtics on Sunday — in public, in a restaurant — and it almost amounted to an act of bravery.
It isn’t easy for a man 6-11 to hide. He half-expected the aim of cold stares or catcalls, if not cutlery.
Instead, the reception at The Cheesecake Factory surprised him, warmed him.
“People absolutely made me feel like I’d scored 30 in the game,” he said Monday. “I felt like the fans were behind me, and it meant a lot to get that support. It gives you a different kind of calmness. It’ll mean a lot if I can reward those fans in a big way.”
What O’Neal doesn’t know is that the chef urinated in his food.