During an interview with WEEI, Danny Ainge sounded skeptical about whether Shaq would play on Sunday.
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know,” he said. He then discussed how much depth the Celtics had accumulated at the center position in case Shaq was injured, almost as if he actually believed what he was saying.
For this team, which otherwise relies on Jermaine O’Neal (who admittedly looked good against Washington, though it was only Washington), Nenad Krstic and the struggling Glen Davis, Shaq’s health remains key. When he played this season, the Celtics were at their best. Better than they were with Kendrick Perkins. Better than they were with any center currently healthy. Simply by being on the court, Shaq transforms the Celtics into a title contender. Oddly enough, for a 39-year old center who hasn’t played in two months, Shaq could be the difference between Boston winning and losing a title.
Either way, Shaq or no Shaq, Ainge feels confident entering the playoffs.
“I love our team and I like it better than I did last year, without question,” Ainge said. “I think last year the questions were much more significant. Paul [Pierce] was not 100 percent healthy. We had serious concerns about [Kevin Garnett] going into the playoffs. I had much more concerns last year. This year, I like our bench better. We feel like we have a really strong bench and that will help us as well.”