Friday FT's: Shaq wouldn't trade Rondo; Marbury update


Friday FT's: Shaq wouldn't trade Rondo; Marbury update

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read.

With Rajon Rondo - Chris Paul trade rumors buzzing this week, Shaquille O'Neal weighed in on the topic during a recent interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

O'Neal recently revealed in his book, Shaq Uncut, he believes playful insult from President Obama messed with Rondo's head. Nonetheless, he wouldnt trade his former teammates if he was in the front office.

Everyone is tradeable, you could probably get a lot for Rajon Rondo but he is the heart and soul of the team, he said. I dont think that would be a good idea. If I was the general manager, I wouldnt do it.

Shaq followed that up by giving Rondo an edge over Paul on the court.

Chris Paul is not better than Rajon Rondo, he said. Rajon Rondo is the true definition of a point guard, period. He gets everybody involved and he scores when he has to. Chris Paul scores a lot of points, but when was the last time they made it to the playoffs? Thank you very much.

Bias Remembered 25 Years Later

To commemorate its 25th anniversary, the Washington Post Magazine took a look at 25 moments that changed Washington. The first moment -- June 17, 1986, the day the Boston Celtics drafted Len Bias with the second overall pick. The photo caption includes, "When he completed his extraordinary basketball career at the University of Maryland, the only question surrounding Len Bias was whether he would dominate the NBA in the same fashion he ruled the Atlantic Coast Conference. Twenty years later, many still wonder."

Johnsons Jersey Already Retired

JaJuan Johnsons college number has been retired before he even suited up for the Celtics. On Tuesday, Johnson was honored by Purdue University with a dedication ceremony in which his jersey was hung in the rafters. It still hasnt sunk in, all of the stuff that Ive done at Purdue, Johnson told the Purdue Exponent. Its kind of weird and I just left last year so I can still enjoy it while Im young. Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter praised the Celtics rookie, noting the 6-10, 221-pound forward is stronger than he may look. Its just special to see somebody develop like that as a player and as a person and achieve some of their dreams, he said.

Marbury Wants a Championship in China

Former Celtics guard Stephon Marbury is hoping to achieve a goal that eluded him in the NBA winning a championship. Marbury, who is playing for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), is focused on one objective this season We have to think of the championships, whether you are able to achieve it or not, he said, according to The report also noted Marbury is learning Chinese and would like to play the rest of his career in the league. "I will retire as a professional player in CBA and that is my aim, he said.

Whats Gabe Pruitt Up To?

As the Celtics look to add depth to their bench this season, lets take a look back at a former bench player. Celtics 2007 second round draft pick Gabe Pruitt (remember him?) is playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA Development League this season. The guard is off to a quick start this season, averaging 22.5 points and 4.5 assists in his first two games.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@Aabradley11: Best bday gift ever.. It's time to hoop

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Celtics guard Avery Bradley turned 21 on November 26 High-flying Dee Brown turned 43 on November 29. He is currently an assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons. Jerry Sichting, a member of the 1986 championship team, turned 55 the same day. Five-time All-Star and 1974 championship-winning Paul Westphal turned 61 on November 30. He shares a birthday with Mark Blount (36) and Darren Daye (51).

This Week in Celtics History

On November 27, 2007 the newly revamped Celtics lost, 109-104, in overtime against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. LeBron James scored a game-high 38 points and dished 13 assists. Days later, the Celtics fought back at home, beating the Cavs 80-70 on December 2, 2007 at TD Garden. James did not play in that game, and Ray Allen led all scorers with 20 points. On November 26, 1995, the Celtics traded Sherman Douglas to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Todd Day and Alton Lister.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Thunder in Oklahoma City. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 25, the Boston Celtics had the perennial title contenders on the ropes with the lead in the fourth quarter only to lose it and the game, 109-103.

On the road at Houston, one of the Western Conference’s top teams, the Celtics led in the fourth quarter and wound up losing their Dec. 5 matchup 107-106 as Al Horford missed what would have been a game-winning lay-up as time expired.

Boston played well in both games, but not well enough to win which unfortunately for the Green Team has been how things have gone when they’ve faced some of the better teams in the NBA this season.

They are hoping to break that trend tonight when they hit the road and face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder (14-9) come in with a slightly better record than the Celtics (13-10).

Boston’s issue isn’t that they can’t play with the better teams.

It’s their finish that needs work.

Boston has lost five of its six games this season against teams that are currently among the top-4 in their respective conferences. 

Losses to San Antonio and Houston only highlight Boston not being able to make the late-game runs needed to win.

Even in their 101-94 loss to Toronto on Friday, it was the Raptors’ ability to make one clutch play after another when it mattered most, that proved to be what was needed to propel them to victory.

“That’s what good teams do; they execute at the end of the game,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “We just have to execute better and get stops at the end of the game. That’s what it comes down to.”

And while the Celtics have a number of returners from last season, every season brings about a different team and with that, a need to learn how to collectively be successful especially down the stretch in close games.

“We’re learning,” Bradley said following the Raptors loss. “We’re moving on to the next game.”

And that would be the Thunder who come in having won six of their last seven games.

Of course when it comes to the Thunder, everything starts with Russell Westbrook who is on everyone’s short list for league MVP.

He is averaging a triple-double this season with 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds per game.

“He’s amazing,” said Boston’s Terry Rozier who will likely spend some time defending Westbrook tonight. “He’s going to be aggressive. We have to try and find a way to stop that. He’s putting up video game stats. It’s tough but we gotta do something.”

The Celtics will likely lean heavily on Marcus Smart and Bradley, a first-team all-NBA defensive selection last season, when it comes to trying to slow down Westbrook.

“Russell’s a good player,” Bradley said. “I look forward to every matchup. If it’s him, whoever it is, I look forward to it. That’s what this league is about.”

It’s also about growth and development of franchises into title contenders, something the Celtics are eager to continue pushing towards tonight.

Horford spent the previous nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, advancing to the playoffs every season.

He saw first-hand how they went from a team that could barely get into the playoffs, into one that produced four all-stars in one season and had the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Horford saw the loss to Toronto as an example of a really good team doing what great teams do and that’s finding a way to win regardless of how things are going most of the night.

“We made a run early (against Toronto), they stayed with it, didn’t rattle and eventually got over us,” Horford said. “We’re growing as a group.”