Friday FT's: Shaq invades Google, Rondo on set

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Friday FT's: Shaq invades Google, Rondo on set

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that may not have made the headlines but are still worth a read.

Before Shaquille ONeal announced he is joining TNT, he made a discreet appearance at Google. "I've broken inside the Google building. Nobody knows I'm here. Shhh. I love Google, baby," he said on a Tout video. While inside, he "camouflaged" himself behind a less-than-Shaq-size plant and eventually got pinned down to a Google pool table, apologizing to the "Google people." Safe to say ONeals attempts at disguising himself were unsuccessful.

Lights, Camera, Action for Rondo: On Thursday night Rajon Rondo posted, "At a Nike shoot today in LA" on his Facebook page and tweeted several photos, including a helicopter, fans, and a very sophisticated ensemble.
(Now that is taking your style to a whole new level.)

Rondo is the face of the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011, which he is expected to wear next season.

Ray Ready for Anything: Ray Allen was in Los Angeles for the ESPY Awards, where he was nominated for Best Record-Breaking Performance for breaking the NBA all-time three-point shooting record last season. (U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy won the award.) Before the event, Allen was asked about the unavoidable topic of the NBA lockout. "I think you have to expect the worst, always, he told ESPNs Erin Andrews on the red carpet. And with that, the guys have to save their money, make sure that they're not doing anything too frivolous. And at the same time, you've got to take care of your bodies because we've seen back in '99 a lot of guys' careers ended because they didn't take care of themselves, they didn't take care of their bodies, they didn't prepare for the long haul."
KG Inspiring Young Athletes: During the NBA Draft it is not unusual to hear picks list Kevin Garnett as one the players they looked up to as they worked toward becoming pro athletes. Recently two high school athletes who are still years away from the NBA noted the influence Garnett has made on their games already.

When reading about Everett, MA native Nerlens Noel, a 6-11 center, it is clear he has been inspired by Garnett. Mentions of energy, defense, and team basketball are usually good indications. Nerlens, who plays for the Tilton School in Tilton, NH, is ranked as one of the top players in his class nationwide. Wrote KentuckySports.com, I just want to win the game and be a good teammate, he said. I know defense is one thing people will sleep on, but defense wins championships. Noel, who cites Kevin Garnett as possessing the intensity he wants to emulate, said he hoped to have a list of 15 schools by the end of the summer.

Chinoso Obokoh, a big man from Nigeria who plays for Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, NY, has also been influenced by KG. According to the NBE Basketball Report, This 6-foot-10 defensive terror who says his favorite team is the Boston Celtics and his favorite player is Kevin Garnett already has many schools already drooling over his services.
Pinckney to Europe: NBA players arent the only ones going overseas -- former Boston Celtics forwardChicago Bulls assistant coach Ed Pinckney will also head to Europe. CSNChicago.com reported he will serve as an assistant coach for the Ukrainian National Team under head coach Mike Fratello. Pinckney played for the Celtics over six seasons in the late 1980searly 1990s.
Celtics Award Camp Scholarship: This week the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation announced a new partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. As part of the partnership, the Celtics awarded a scholarship for the Reebok Youth Basketball Camps to a 16-year-old Charlestown Boys & Girls Club member who best exemplified being a team player. The camps are co-hosted by the Celtics and will feature former Cs Cedric Maxwell and Dana Barros.

Celtics Tweet of the Week:
@paulpierce34: They knocked me out of the Main Event Monday nite I'm still licking my wounds but I'll b back

Celtics Birthday of the Week:
Jim Paxson, who played with the Celtics from 1988-90, turned 54 on July 9 . . . Paul Silas, who played four seasons for the Celtics in the 1970s, turned 68 on July 12.

This Week in NBA History:
Jermaine ONeal agreed to sign with the Celtics on July 8, 2010. ONeal struggled with injuries for the majority of his first year in Boston, averaging 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in 24 regular season games. His standout performance of the postseason came in the first round against the New York Knicks when he scored 12 points off of perfect 6-for-6 shooting. ONeal told CSNNE.com he plans to return next season. "I have a lot I can still give to this team," he said.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

First-place Celtics continue to focus on playing well, not standings

WALTHAM, Mass. – When it comes to NBA standings, no Celtic pays closer attention to it than Isaiah Thomas.
 
But the 5-foot-9 All-Star is quick to say that while he’s aware of what’s happening with other teams record-wise, Thomas, like his teammates, isn’t obsessed with it, even with the Celtics (48-26) now in first place in the East following Cleveland’s loss at San Antonio on Monday.
 
“It’s a good feeling,” Thomas said. “It’s still not the end of the year; anything can happen. It’s a nice feeling to be the number one seed for once, but we just have to continue to control what we can control.”

The fact that Boston is even in position to finish with the best record in the East is amazing when you consider injuries and illnesses have forced them to use 13 different starting lineups this season.
 
And the preferred starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Amir Johnson has played together 31 times and posted an impressive 24-7 record.
 
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been consistent in his message that while having the best record in the East is nice, he’s more consumed with the team continuing to improve.
 
“It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now,” Stevens said of being in first place. “The whole idea is to make progress, get better every day and stay in the moment. You do that if you’re in last place trying to build up or whether you’re in a position where you’re fighting for seeding. Ultimately, we’ve been able to grow and get a little bit better. But I still think we can play a lot better. That’s where my focus is.”
 
And the same holds true for his players. Thomas knows how unusual this season has been for the Celtics, who continue finding ways to win despite frequently being short-handed.
 
The latest example of that involves forward Jonas Jerebko, who is questionable for Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee because of a sore left knee that limited him in Tuesday’s practice.
 
“It’s a long season. A lot of things can happen whether they be good or bad and we know that,” Thomas said. “We just try to withstand the storm we’ve had a few times this year, and continue to try and stay as positive as possible and we’ve done that. We’re in a good position right now. We just have to continue to take care of business.”
  
And that means steadily improving while piling up the wins, particularly against teams such as the Bucks (37-36), who are among a handful of teams that could potentially be Boston’s first-round opponent.
 
Milwaukee comes in having won 11 of its past 14 games.

“It makes the game that much more important,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “Just like the Miami game. We want to let the teams know now, they go up against us in the playoffs, it’s no mercy. We’re going to play hard. We’re going to bring it every single night. We’re going to play Celtics basketball every single night. Them knowing that, we can scare a lot of teams if we’re playing the right way.”

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

Jerebko questionable for Wednesday against Bucks

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics have spent most of this season playing short-handed and Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee will potentially be another one of those games.
 
Veteran forward Jonas Jerebko has a sore left knee and is considered questionable for the Bucks’ game.
 
“Jonas went through about half of [Tuesday’s] practice,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
 
Jerebko has missed two games this season due to illness.
 
Because of Milwaukee’s length at seemingly every position, Jerebko’s ability to play both forward positions will be something the Celtics will surely miss if he’s unable to play.
 
This season, Jerebko has appeared in 69 games while averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 35.0 percent on 3’s.