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


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

By Jessica Camerato 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, 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. 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 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!JCameratoNBA.

Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat


Celtics' team plane receives bomb threat

BOSTON -- There was a bomb threat to the Boston Celtics’ team plane to Oklahoma City on Saturday afternoon, but no one was injured.

The incident will be investigated by NBA security which will work in conjunction with the FBI on this matter which was one of several hoaxes called into airports across the country on Saturday.

News of the bomb threat was first known when Celtics forward Jae Crowder posted an Instagram photo showing players departing the plane with the caption, “BOMB THREAT ON US”.

Celtics officials declined to comment on the matter and instead referred all bomb threat-related questions to the league office.

Messages to the league office were not immediately returned.

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

Celtics' ball movement among NBA's best, with or without Thomas

BOSTON – When it comes to winning basketball, keep it moving – the ball that is – has become a staple of the Celtics this season. 
And lately they’ve had to do it without Isaiah Thomas, the team’s leading scorer at 26 points per game as well as their top assists guy (6.2) who will miss hish third game in a row Sunday in Oklahoma City because of a right groin injury.
The Celtics have split their first two games without Thomas, with the most recent being a 101-94 home loss to Toronto on Friday.
When it comes to this team and ball movement, fans are just as divided when it pertains to whether the Celtics move the ball better without the high-scoring Thomas in the lineup. 
Regardless of what fans think they know about this team and how they move the ball, the numbers paint a very clear picture that this team’s ball movement is among the best in the NBA, with or without Thomas in the lineup. 

And that will be important on Sunday against an Oklahoma City team that doesn’t rely on the ball swinging from one side of the floor to the other, nearly as much as the Celtics. 
The Thunder, led by MVP candidate Russell Westbrook, are dead-last in the NBA when it comes to passes made per game (267.1). 
Meanwhile, the Celtics are at the opposite end of the passing game spectrum, averaging 331.7 passes per game, which is second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.3).
And in the two games without Thomas, Boston has averaged 347.0 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA in that period of time. 
In addition to missing his points and assists, the Celtics must also find ways to make plays in filling the void left by a player who has the ball in his hands a lot of the time. 
Thomas’ usage percentage (percentage of plays used by a player while he’s on the floor) of 32.9 percent ranks seventh in the NBA, ahead of notable stars such as San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard (30.9 percent), Portland’s Damian Lillard (30.8 percent), New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29.5 percent), as well as Cleveland’s LeBron James (29 percent) and Golden State’s back-to-back NBA MVP Stephen Curry (28.2 percent).
So, considering how involved Thomas has been in the team’s offense, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the numbers in terms of passing and ball movement are better without him than they are when he’s on the floor playing. 
What should be surprising is that the gap statistically without him, isn’t greater. 
Boston has been a top five team when it comes to assists this season, currently third in the league with 24.7 assists per game. In the past two games without Thomas, the Celtics’ assists numbers have risen to 26.5 per game, but that only ranks fifth in the league in that span.
When it comes to potential assists and secondary assists (a.k.a. the “hockey” assist), Boston’s numbers have improved slightly without Thomas as well, but in each category Boston is ranked second in the league. 
And that ranking is with, and without Thomas in the lineup. 
While it’s not clear if Thomas knows just how close the numbers in terms of ball movement are with and without him playing, he is acutely aware that there are some who believe they are a better team in terms of keeping the ball moving without him.
“I can’t control that,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “At this point, I laugh about it. I know what I mean to my teammates. I know what I mean to this organization, to Brad Stevens.”