O'Neal: Lin 'has been tremendous'

672840.jpg

O'Neal: Lin 'has been tremendous'

BOSTON No NBA locker room is safe from the Linsanity that is Jeremy Lin, the Harvard educated basketball player that has taken the New York Knicks -- and the entire NBA with it -- by storm.

Not even the Boston Celtics, a team that seldom opines about other players on other teams, can help but acknowledge the instant impact he has made since the Knicks made him a starter.

Lin's story of being waived by multiple teams and on the cusp of being cut by the Knicks is well-documented.

Boston center Jermaine O'Neal never had that kind of adversity to overcome.

But like Lin, he too had to wait for his opportunity to play before eventually flourishing in the NBA.

"Me personally, I know where he's coming from," said O'Neal, a six-time all-star. "I kind of did the same thing in Portland, sat for four years and got an opportunity. As players, we understand when an opportunity comes, it's up to you to take full advantage of it."

And Lin has done just that.

In the last six games -- all wins for the Knicks -- Lin has averaged 26.8 points, 8.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. The downside of his game, however, is in the fact that during the same span, he's averaging 5.2 turnovers per game.

"He's found a system that fits his skill level," O'Neal said. "Obviously he has a tremendous amount of skill level. Hopefully he can continue at the high pace that he's doing."

Chris Wilcox has also been impressed with Lin's play.

"Hopefully he can do it for the rest of the season," Wilcox said. "Big ups to him."

While most of the world was caught totally off-guard by Lin's play, NBA players are immune to guys coming out of nowhere to play well for a initial period of time.

"As players, we're not surprised," O'Neal said. "We understand more than anybody, if you get to a system and the coach doesn't think you fit the style of play they have, then you won't play. Then you get to a system where the coach feels like you can fit and throws you out there to play, then your skill level can really show. He's been tremendous."

But the Lin-lovefest can only go so far.

"We don't become fans," O'Neal said.

And with each win bringing the Knicks closer to Boston in the Atlantic Division standings, the C's are keeping all the hoopla surrounding Lin in perspective.

"We got other things to worry about here," Wilcox said.

"Hopefully it stops, the winning, from the perspective of a Celtic," said O'Neal. "But I wish him the best of luck, because I know how hard it is to do well in this league and be consistent at it."

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

usatsi_9412070.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels:

QUOTES

* “He just had very good command the entire night. Stayed ahead in the count [and] pitched to all quadrants of the strike zone. He used his four-seamer in on some powerful right-handed hitters in their lineup.” John Farrell on Rick Porcello’s performance.

* “We needed a win bad and swung the bats well and played good defense. That’s a big win for us.” Rick Porcello said after his win in an interview with NESN.

* “24 hours ago we were probably in a much different place mentally after a ball game like tonight.” Farrell on the win.

“That was probably the first time I sat on off-speed pitches this whole year. I took a chance, took a gamble.” Jackie Bradley Jr. said on his home run.

NOTES

* Rick Porcello completed his first game in a Red Sox uniform in the 6-2 win. The CG was the fifth of his career and his first since he threw three in 2014. The righty has 14 wins, one win shy of tying his career high.

* Xander Bogaerts had his first multi extra-base hit performance of the season since June 11. He’s only done that twice this season. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

* David Ortiz logged his 85th RBI of the season in the win and Mookie Betts his 67th. Heading into Friday night’s game, the two were one of five pairs of teammates ranking in the top 20 in RBI. The list includes Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

* Dustin Pedroia has now reached base safely in 32 straight games.

STARS

1) Rick Porcello

Porcello had his first complete game in a Red Sox uniform, stopping Boston’s losing skid at four games.

2) Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts finished with a double and a home run -- the only Boston hitter with multiple hits. He also led the Red Sox with three RBI and scoring twice in the win.

3) Dustin Pedroia

In addition to walking in his first two at-bats, Pedroia had a base hit -- and another walk -- scoring twice on the night.

First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

ap_16212129505474.jpg

First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 win over Los Angeles:

Rick Porcello is not fazed by his fellow staff members’ struggles.

Although his teammates continue to deal with frustrations on almost a nightly basis, Porcello got the job done and put Boston in a position to win once again.

The second-inning double by Daniel Nava should have been a single, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not misplayed a funny hop. If that hit is a single, the next ground ball is a double -- and the following grounder ends the inning.

One of the most impressive components of his outing was dealing with Cole Kalhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to finish his outing after already facing them three times on the night.

Xander Bogaerts had his first multi-hit game in a week.

Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a long time -- but that can feel like a long time given the shortstop’s output this year.

It was also his first multi extra-base hit performance since June 11.

Oddly enough, those are his only two games of that kind this season.

In addition to the win, Porcello did the bullpen a favor.

Not necessarily because the relievers needed rest, but with Ziegler’s last two rough nights, they could use a break.

Although Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz got warm late, it was more so to keep them fresh for the coming games since they haven’t thrown much.

Additionally, he gave an example for the Red Sox starting rotation that they are in fact capable of going the distance.

Tim Lincecum is barely a shell of what he used to be.

That first inning was hard to watch. The former Cy Young Award-winner threw eight straight balls, and somehow managed to work past. Even his final throw to first base in he opening frame looked like it was going off the mark.

Just hard to watch in general, which made it all the more shocking that the Red Sox couldn’t score against him.

Good for them that he never adjusted, and they took advantage of it in the ensuing innings.