Celtics react to losing Shaq

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Celtics react to losing Shaq

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Kevin Garnett let out a sigh as he recalled watching Shaquille ONeal hobble off the court.

It wasnt what he wanted to witness, not after ONeal had worked so hard to come back after injuring his right Achilles in February.

That wasnt good to see, Garnett said following the Celtics 101-90 win over the Detroit Pistons. Hes been working his behind off to get back to this point (sighs). He had some momentum going, he definitely gave us a spark. It was good to see him out there.

If you know Shaq, you know hes always in lively spirits and to see him to go like that, it was tough.

ONeal played only 5 minutes and 29 seconds before exiting his first game back since February 1 in the second quarter. He scored six points during that span, a reminder of just how much of an impact he can make down low.

It was almost like a tease having him available for such a short stretch.

It was great. We had size, said Doc Rivers. You know, its amazing what size does.

The Celtics were encouraged, though, when ONeal was diagnosed with a right calf strain. There is no timetable for his return yet, but Rivers projects, I dont think very long, honestly.

Nonetheless, his teammates felt for their big man and hope a speedy recovery.

Its minor, said Garnett. Hes a huge dude. Hopefully he can bounce back from this, but leg injuries are not easy and were just hoping for the best at this point.

Paul Pierce felt for the 39-year-old, given his age and long list of injuries this season.

When you get to that age, those ones tend to hurt a little bit longer, Pierce said. Its tough. Hes been out so long. He tried to do it today without any chance to have any practices. I just hope hes all right. I dont really the know the extent of whats going on, but hes been out so long, resting, trying to get his injuries together, and its very disappointing. He comes out, especially after being out so long, to come down with another injury.

Jermaine ONeal, who recently came back from his own injury, was optimistic for his fellow center. He hopes that Shaqs upbeat attitude was an indication of a quick return.

He seemed to be in good spirits when he left, he said. I think he may be back on there on Tuesday when the Celtics host the Sixers, well see. But he was laughing and joking. It was more of a scare, I think, for the guys on the team and the fans of the Celtics. But I think the lack of practice time hurt him - because he hasnt had the ability to practice, he was kind of on the fly so he wasnt able to test a lot of things - so today he kind of tweaked it. Hopefully for us, we can get him back sooner because he got off to a great start.

As for Glen Davis, he is certain hell be seeing ONeal back on the court sooner rather than later.

Hell be okay. Shaqs always going to be all right. Shaq dont get hurt, Davis said. Shaqs invincible. Thats what I believe in. Hell be back. Hes all steel - man of steel. Thats what Ive believing since I was a little kid.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.