Jermaine O'Neal's still talking

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Jermaine O'Neal's still talking

Here are three things you can count on every NBA offseason:

1. GMs will make stupid decisions.

Check. (In the Knicks case, we can also include owners)

2. Kevin Garnett will disappear.

Check. (Unless you count his I'm more than happy and I'm excited to be back!" press release, which definitely wasn't made up by someone on the Celtics PR staff.)

3. Jermaine ONeal will talk out of his ass.

And now . . . Check.

I had a fantastic time in Boston, with the city, the fans were phenomenal, the organization was phenomenal, I just dont know if the playing situation was right to be quite honest, JO told the Globe yesterday. The hardest thing for me was to not be able to do some of the things I have been quite comfortable doing all my life. I accepted the challenge. I accepted the role. I didnt want 10 shots a game, but it was hard to be told not to worry about scoring."

How much should we still care about Jermaine ONeal?

Ive asked myself this question a few times today.

On one hand, this quote is so infuriating. Honestly, Im starting to worry about JO. Forget signing with the Lakers, the guy needs an intervention. Jermaine. Listen. We all brought you here because were concerned . . . These things youre saying to the media . . . its just so obvious that something isnt right . . . you're out of your mind . . . Jermaine, please! . . . (starts shaking him) . . . let us help you!

But seriously, what's ONeal trying to get across in this interview? Is he saying that a few more touches might have made the difference in him missing 99 of a possible 148 games? How does that make sense? Thats like a blacked out drunk driver slamming his car into a telephone pole and then blaming the crash on a faulty headlight.

But what makes the whole thing even more frustrating is that you know there are people out there who will still fall for his shtick. The same way Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers fell for it in 2010. The same way we all did at some point during his two years in town. There are GMs who will become fascinated by his size and All-Star resume, who will buy into his sweet nothings and give him another chance.

Again, I'm not sure why that should bother anyone in Boston. He's not our problem anymore. We should let him go to the Lakers and drive them as crazy as he did us.

But after two years of dealing with his song-and-dance, the sound of the Jermaine O'Neal BS Machine is still like nails on a chalk board. As much as I don't want to care, it still drives me nuts.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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.