Shaq powers Celtics past Nets, 89-83

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Shaq powers Celtics past Nets, 89-83

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - It was an improbable scene. Shaquille O'Neal stepped to the free-throw line for two shots with the Celtics down by two points in the fourth quarter.

He made both.

It was that kind of night for O'Neal, who dominated the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds. More significantly, he shot 7-for-13 from the line, including 5-for-8 in the fourth.

Led by O'Neal's best performance as a Celtic, the C's beat the Nets, 89-83, and improved to 11-4 on the season.

"He looked like the 2000 Shaq," said Kevin Garnett. "He looked fresh tonight. He looked really good. I thought he did a great job of getting us in the bonus early. He definitely was the target tonight . . . On this team. night in and night out, we are going to have a different guy, from Paul Pierce to Ray Allen to anybody. And tonight it was Shaq."

But this victory wasn't without a downside.

Delonte West broke his right wrist after falling on a drive to the basket with 2:43 left in the second quarter. Coach Doc Rivers projects West could miss the entire regular season.

Witnessing West's injury makes Rivers more hesitant - not eager - to play the injured Rajon Rondo. He would much rather wait than risk his starting point guard aggravate his hamstring pull if he returns too soon.

"I'm serious about that," said Rivers. "Unless trainer Eddie Lacerte says he's feeling great, I just can't see it. And I know Rondo, so we're really going to have to have a long talk for him to play on Friday."

In spite being down two key players, the Celtics overcame a first-half push by the Nets to get the win.

The C's jumped out to a 18-17 first quarter lead thanks to eight points from O'Neal. They outscored the Nets 10-2 in the paint and looked to have the advantage down low.

But the Nets dominated the second quarter, 29-20, behind an 8-0 run. The Celtics were outrebounded, 8-4, and outscored 6-0, at the free-throw line. Anthony Morrow and Devin Harris combined for 21 points in the first half, which ended with the Nets in front, 46-38.

Down two guards in the second half, Marquis Daniels stepped in for 11 minutes and contributed 2 points, 2 steals, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and a blocked shot to spark the Celtics. They outscored the Nets, 23-17, to cut the deficit to two points entering the final 12 minutes.

"I thought he really changed the game," Pierce said of Daniels. "I thought his length really bothered the point guards. In the pick-and-roll, he was able to get over and under, switch it up, just showing his versatility, some of the things that he can do when he gets in the game."

The fourth quarter belonged to O'Neal. He electrified the Garden crowd with a dunk off a feed from Allen and provided constant energy on both ends of the court. He posted seven points and five rebounds in the fourth quarter.

Nate Robinson sealed the victory with a 3-pointer to give the Celtics an 85-78 lead with less than a minute to go.

Pierce finished with 18 points while Allen scored 15. Harris led the Nets with 20 points and Morrow added 18.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Bulpett: Ainge 'really protective' of ability to go to free agency this summer

Steve Bulpett joins Mike Felger to weigh in on the NBA trade deadline and the lack of moves made by Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics thus far.

Drummond on tweets and trade talk: 'I can change my profile if I want to'

Drummond on tweets and trade talk: 'I can change my profile if I want to'

BOSTON – If you believe what Andre Drummond and the Detroit Pistons are saying, then the former UConn star will not be on the move prior to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ESTtrade deadline.

Drummond, whose social media posts on Monday and later Tuesday morning only perpetuated the belief that he might be traded to Boston, addressed the trade speculation surrounding him after the Piston’s practice on Tuesday.

“What’s that got to do with my team?” he told reporters. “I can’t control what happens with trade rumors.”

Drummond was then reminded of the eyeballs emoji he posted Tuesday morning, which came less than 24 hours after he re-tweeted Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas’ eyeballs emoji – a similar posting to what Thomas did around the time Boston landed Al Horford last summer.

So as fans and media tried to piece the tweets together like they were clues to a Jessica Fletcher mystery, Drummond did his best to splash cold water on the trade talk on Tuesday.

“I’m a grown man,” he said. “I can change my profile if I want to. It doesn’t matter what time of year. If y’all want to speculate about that and me, go for it.”

Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy has made no secret about the Pistons having conversations with several teams about all their players.

“Some discussions get more serious than others and that’s what happens,” Van Gundy told reporters following the team’s practice on Tuesday. “There hasn’t been a serious discussion about Andre, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been discussions about Andre.

Van Gundy added, “The rumors don’t mean anything to me. One of you (media) guys asked me over the weekend how far along the D.J. Augustin and Jeff Green trade for Reggie was. The first time I heard about it was when I got that text, so I would assume not that far. I usually can just laugh it off, but it gets a little annoying.”