Friday FT's: Kobe vs. Shaq (Again); Delonte works

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Friday FT's: Kobe vs. Shaq (Again); Delonte works

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 have not made the headlines but are still worth a read. In spite of the NBA lockout, there are still plenty of hoops to talk about.
Shaquille ONeal may have retired from basketball this summer but that doesnt mean Kobe vs. Shaq talk has come to an end.

Let's set the scene: Kobe Bryant is currently in Italy as part of a Nike promotional tour. According to Sportando.net, Bryant was asked about his former teammate O'Neal during a radio interview, to which Bryant responded, "I like players who work out. I used to do that 67 hours per day. I cannot stand players who practice for 30 minutes. I need to say something to them."

On Thursday, O'Neal tweeted a video of himself singing Sade's "No Ordinary Love" to ... a basketball I'm gonna miss the game.

No Doubting Wests Work Ethic
While many NBA players pondered finding employment overseas during the lockout, Delonte West announced he had applied for a job at Home Depot. This week he tweeted that he is now an employee of Regency Furniture Showrooms, and he has been sharing photos from his application to his first days on the job on his Twitter account, @CharleeRedz13:

Applied at Regency Furniture, need a 2nd job to stay afloat during the lockout.

I am now an official employee of Regency Furniture.. Check me out on my first day.

"Me and the crew at Regency. It's been a long day."

Just finished a big moving job.

Another on the job pic. This is the last one, don't wanna get fired.

Before he started his new job, West hosted the Delonte West Charity Weekend in Washington, D.C. to benefit several organizations, ranging from senior citizens to children. Check out photo (below) of West playing bingo with senior citizens at the Magnolia Garden Nursing Home. He was also at the Casino Royale benefit event with Baltimore Raven Ray Rice.

Rondo Confident One-on-One

Last weekend Rajon Rondo headed to Alcatraz in San Francisco for the final round of the Red Bull King of the Rock Tournament. Dime Magazine was there to talk to Rondo about the tournament, the NBA lockout, and one-on-one basketball. Check out a few excerpts from the interview, where Rondo is always in game mode:

Dime: If the Celtics held a 1-on-1 tournament, who would win?
RR: Probably me. I mean, we play a little 1-on-1 sometimes. Pauls pretty good hes probably the best 1-on-1 player we have cause he can score inside and outside, and he can check guards and bigs. So I could say Paul, or I could say Id win.

Dime: What about a 1-on-1 tournament with just NBA point guards. Who wins?
RR: Me.

Dime: Okay, so who would you beat in the finals?
RR: Whoever gets there.

Rondo also tweeted a photo of himself playing a game of H-O-R-S-E against fans at Alcatraz here.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@paulpierce34: Today's game in Allen Field house brought back so many memories I couldn't have scripted the game today any better Best fans n the world

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Celtics 1997 first round draft pick (3rd overall) Chauncey Billups turned 35 on September 25. Billups played 51 games for the Cs during his rookie year before being traded to the Toronto Raptors . . . Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo, who appeared in 20 games for the Celtics during the 1978-79 season, turned 60 on the same day. He was traded to the Detroit Pistons in September of 1979 . . . Brad Lohaus turned 47 on September 29. He was drafted by the Celtics with the 45th overall pick in 1987 and played over two seasons with the C's before being traded to the Sacramento Kings along with Danny Ainge . . . Chuck Cooper, broke the NBA color line when he played four seasons for the Celtics during the 1950s, was born on September 29, 1926. He passed away in 1984 . . . Ruben Wolkowyski, who played seven games for the Celtics during the 2002-03 season, turned 38 on September 30.

This Week in Celtics History

On September 30, 2005 the Celtics traded a 2006 second-round pick to the New OrleansOklahoma City Hornets in exchange for Dan Dickau. The guard was the last player to don number 20 for the Celtics before Ray Allen began wearing the jersey in 2007.

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

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

WATCH: Celtics vs. Thunder

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Thunder in Oklahoma City. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Celtics-Thunder preview: Another chance against a top-tier team

Hosting the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 25, the Boston Celtics had the perennial title contenders on the ropes with the lead in the fourth quarter only to lose it and the game, 109-103.

On the road at Houston, one of the Western Conference’s top teams, the Celtics led in the fourth quarter and wound up losing their Dec. 5 matchup 107-106 as Al Horford missed what would have been a game-winning lay-up as time expired.

Boston played well in both games, but not well enough to win which unfortunately for the Green Team has been how things have gone when they’ve faced some of the better teams in the NBA this season.

They are hoping to break that trend tonight when they hit the road and face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder (14-9) come in with a slightly better record than the Celtics (13-10).

Boston’s issue isn’t that they can’t play with the better teams.

It’s their finish that needs work.

Boston has lost five of its six games this season against teams that are currently among the top-4 in their respective conferences. 

Losses to San Antonio and Houston only highlight Boston not being able to make the late-game runs needed to win.

Even in their 101-94 loss to Toronto on Friday, it was the Raptors’ ability to make one clutch play after another when it mattered most, that proved to be what was needed to propel them to victory.

“That’s what good teams do; they execute at the end of the game,” said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. “We just have to execute better and get stops at the end of the game. That’s what it comes down to.”

And while the Celtics have a number of returners from last season, every season brings about a different team and with that, a need to learn how to collectively be successful especially down the stretch in close games.

“We’re learning,” Bradley said following the Raptors loss. “We’re moving on to the next game.”

And that would be the Thunder who come in having won six of their last seven games.

Of course when it comes to the Thunder, everything starts with Russell Westbrook who is on everyone’s short list for league MVP.

He is averaging a triple-double this season with 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.8 rebounds per game.

“He’s amazing,” said Boston’s Terry Rozier who will likely spend some time defending Westbrook tonight. “He’s going to be aggressive. We have to try and find a way to stop that. He’s putting up video game stats. It’s tough but we gotta do something.”

The Celtics will likely lean heavily on Marcus Smart and Bradley, a first-team all-NBA defensive selection last season, when it comes to trying to slow down Westbrook.

“Russell’s a good player,” Bradley said. “I look forward to every matchup. If it’s him, whoever it is, I look forward to it. That’s what this league is about.”

It’s also about growth and development of franchises into title contenders, something the Celtics are eager to continue pushing towards tonight.

Horford spent the previous nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, advancing to the playoffs every season.

He saw first-hand how they went from a team that could barely get into the playoffs, into one that produced four all-stars in one season and had the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Horford saw the loss to Toronto as an example of a really good team doing what great teams do and that’s finding a way to win regardless of how things are going most of the night.

“We made a run early (against Toronto), they stayed with it, didn’t rattle and eventually got over us,” Horford said. “We’re growing as a group.”