Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “As for Shaq, he spent another day in the pool, keeping his wind up by swimming alongside Kendrick Perkins and strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo. That limitied the wear and tear on a knee bruised during a fourth-quarter collision with Amare Stoudemire Friday night. Shaq’s waiting for the soreness to subside before diving back into action. ‘It feels a little better,’ he said. ‘It’s a little sore to push off. Once it gets to the point where I can push off with little or no pain, then I’ll be ready. As you get older, it takes time for your body to replenish the chlorophyll. I heard that yesterday on the Planet Channel, so I just wanted to throw that out.’”
Dan Duggan, Boston Herald – “Three games into the new season, the Celts have started to fix their fatal flaw. With such an emphasis on rebounding, this may not come as a surprise, but the eye-opener is the help on the glass hasn’t come from the new big men. Jermaine O’Neal has been a nonfactor, and Erden hasn’t logged a minute. Shaquille O’Neal has been solid, but is averaging fewer rebounds than Kendrick Perkins did as the starting center last season. The difference for the Celtics has come primarily from three individuals, all of whom were a part of the team that finished 29th in the NBA in rebounding last season. Kevin Garnett is averaging 11.7 rebounds (7.3 last year), Paul Pierce is averaging 8.3 (4.4) and Rajon Rondo is averaging 6.3 (4.4). The Celts are averaging 44.7 rebounds, an improvement of 6.1 boards per game from last season. ‘A lot of the onus isn’t on me,’ Pierce said. ‘It has to come from everybody, not only the bigs. It has to come from Rondo. Rondo has set such a high standard for himself on the glass where he has to be a part of that, too.’”
A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE – “‘If we were a better rebounding team last year, we probably got two championships in the last three years instead of just one,’ Pierce said. ‘We have a lot of great players assembled here, but I know a lot of what we do starts with me.’ It certainly has played out that way, with the Celtics out-rebounding each of their first three opponents. ‘When we have a great rebounding night, you can almost guarantee that Paul Pierce had a great rebounding night,” Rivers said. “When Paul rebounds, it’s amazing how good our break becomes because now you have a guard who can bust out, dribble twice, throw it to your point guard. [Rajon] Rondo’s getting the ball at halfcourt, and now you have an unbelievable fast break in transition.’”
Paul Flannery, WEEI – “But, as Garnett often points out, numbers don’t tell you everything. It’s not just that he’s grabbing his share of boards, it’s how he’s getting them that truly stands out. ‘I’m encouraged by everybody rebounding, but Kevin is rebounding out in space now,’ Doc Rivers said after practice Monday. ‘Last year I thought he did a good job rebounding. But with the injury, if the ball was out in space he couldn’t go get it. I think what he’s doing now, he’s getting a lot of rebounds out of his space and he hasn’t done that since the first year he was here.’”
Chris Forsberg, ESPN Boston – “‘Saldirgan, Semih.’ That’s the advice Shaquille O’Neal suggested he’s been imparting on Boston Celtics rookie center Semih Erden lately. No need to break out the Turkish version of your Rosetta Stone software: That means to be an aggressor, which is the one thing O’Neal thinks Boston’s fresh-faced import needs to be on the court. ‘He’s an excellent player, very skilled,’ O’Neal said. ‘Sometimes he’s too shy. I always have to tell him — in Turkish — to just be aggressive, to go out and play hard. He’s a great player, a great kid — one of the greatest players out of his country. I’m glad to get to know him and show him some things.’ … ‘He’s getting deeper in everything that we’ve done, but he doesn’t have any one thing down yet,’ Rivers said. ‘It’s going to take time. The problem is, we’re going to have to use him in that time that you’d like to have him get it down. Defensively, he’s OK at knowing our stuff. Offensively, he’s a great pick-and-roller, but he needs to learn how to finish better. He’s really struggling offensively at the basket. But he’ll get that.’ Don’t be deceived, however. Erden can finish around the rim. Just ask Shaq. ‘He gave me a move in the open scrimmage,’ Shaq said. ‘A real nice move — a pump-fake move. I jumped, left my feet, and he was already under the basket, throwing it down. That showed me he has potential to go at anybody, whenever he wants to.’ … ‘[Erden] plays against Shaq every day, so he has no choice but to get better,” Kevin Garnett said. “He’s very skillful; a very, very high IQ when it comes to basketball. He’s just learning our plays and our system. He plays really hard, and I love him here; he fits right in. ‘Even though he’s a foreigner, you can’t tell. The way he dances, the way he interacts, the way he presents himself — he fits right in.’”
Rich Levin, CSNNE – “Shaquille O’Neal missed his second straight practice on Monday afternoon, opting instead to work on his stamina and rehab his injured knee in Health Point’s swimming pool. ‘I swam, worked out,’ O’Neal said. ‘[The knee] feels better. It’s still a little sore. When it gets to the point when I can push off, I’ll be ready.’ The big man says he still plans to travel with the Celtics to Detroit for Tuesday night’s game with the Pistons, but his coach insists that it’s very likely that O’Neal will miss his first game on the young season. ‘I doubt if he plays tomorrow,’ Doc Rivers said. ‘But, we’ll see.’”
Matt Moore, CBS Sports – “In the long history of terrible moves by the Memphis Grizzlies, mark my words, this one will reign supreme. Worse than drafting Hasheem Thabeet. Worse than trading Pau Gasol for Marc Gasol, Kwame Brown, and cash. Worse than signing Rudy Gay to an $80 million extension. This, this right here, is not just the worst move in the history of the Grizzlies, but it is the shining golden cap on the mountain of terrible moves made by NBA owners over the past 2 years. It is this, exact move, that nullifies any argument the owners can possibly make that they spend their money responsibly inside the current CBA. It is this contract that overshadows Joe Johnson’s contract, Amir Johnson’s contract, Darko Milicic’s contract as the single worst contract handed out in 2010. ESPN’s Chris Broussard and the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports that the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a 5-year, $40-million-plus extension for Mike Conley. There is really nothing more to say. But here’s something anyway.”
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