Friday FT's: Shaq stops by the White House

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Friday FT's: Shaq stops by the White House

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

Its one thing to sit down in Harvard Square and pose as a statue. Its another to hide behind plants at the Google offices. But there is at least one place Shaquille ONeal cant just walk into -- the White House.

On Tuesdays episode of Conan, ONeal discussed his first second third failed attempt at stopping by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

ONeal: I just want to take up 30 seconds of the President's time. I want to be able to get in, shake his hand, thank you sir, and then leave. That's all I want. I don't want to stay all day."

OBrien: You know he's been kind of busy the last couple of days?

ONeal: I know, but you know, 30 seconds. So I went up to the gate --

OBrien: You don't call ahead? You dont do anything?

ONeal: No, never. I just went up to the gate and I looked at the guy and he had a smile on his face. And I was like makes two questioning faces. And hes like, Shaq, what do you want? And I was like, Can I just say hi to the President? He was like, No Shaq, you can't do it. Im like, Please? I'll go in the back, please? And he was like, No, we can't do it. So I couldn't do it and I was actually quite sad about it pretends to wipes tear from eye. Third time, third time.

ONeal also discussed his cameo in an upcoming Adam Sandler - Al Pacino film, his equation for Twitter success ("I try to make people laugh 60 percent of the time. 30 percent of the time I try to inspire people. And the other 10 percent I'm just trying to sell stuff.) and his ongoing joke war with Ashton Kutcher.

He also talked about his enjoyment for riding in go carts so it was only appropriate that he and OBrien rode childrens toy cars heading into a commercial break. (If you thought Shaq would pick the mini police car over the pint-sized pink Jeep, guess again.)

Another Chance to See Rondo Play

Last week I wrote about Rajon Rondo being slated to play in the Team Kentucky vs. Team Dominican game University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari is organizing on August 15 at Rupp Arena. Turns out there are quite a few people who want to see that game go down, and tickets have sold out. As a result, Calipari is taking the match up from Lexington to Rondos hometown of Louisville to play a second game on August 16 at the Yum! Center, the home court of the University of Louisville basketball team. On Thursday, Calipari tweeted about Rondos participation, Pre-sale 4 the game in Louisville starts at 10 ET. We will play agst Wall, Cousins, Rondo, Bledsoe, Mohammed, Knight, Harrellson & Liggins.

Soiree for the Shamrock Foundation

On Wednesday the Boston Celtics and XFINITY hosted a Summer Soiree which raised over 20,000 to benefit the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation. The Soiree, held at Scampo at the Liberty Hotel, featured live music, food, raffles, and a silent auction. Celtics legends (including Cedric Maxwell, Dana Barros, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, JoJo White, Tom Satch Sanders, and Tommy Heinsohn) were on hand, along with Celtics dancers and Lucky. Its always a fantastic opportunity to come out and support the Shamrock Foundation because its all about giving back to the kids, Cowens said. This was a great occasion to spend some time with the fans.

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@paulpierce34: another behind the scenes pic of my @si_sportskid of the year vid.. better or worse than my frog outfit from halloween? yfrog.comkephgdqj

Birthdays of the Week

Carlos Arroyo, who signed with the Celtics as a free agent in March, turned 32 on July 30. He averaged 2.4 points and 1.7 assists in 15 games as a back up point guard for the C's. Greg Kite, the Celtics first round pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, turned 50 on August 5. Kite played over four seasons for the C's and never averaged more than two points per game. He was waived by the Celtics in February of 1988.

This Week in NBA History

On July 31, 2007, Kevin Garnett was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, and a pair of first round draft picks, and cash considerations.

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

Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

BOSTON – For most teams in the NBA, road games are a necessary evil. 
 
Not for the Celtics. At least, not lately.
 
The Green Team hits the road for its next three games, and that has been a good thing – a real good thing – lately. 
 
Boston (11-8) has won its last four road games, the kind of success that breeds a heightened level of confidence heading into this current trip which begins tonight at Philadelphia. 
 
And it only helps that they hit the road coming off a 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday. 
 
“We have to carry that momentum with us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You know how...anytime in this league, the momentum, you have to stay with it. We’ve been having success away from home. It was big for us to get this win (over the Kings) to start the road trip off.”
 
A big part of Friday’s victory was the play of Al Horford who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots. The points and rebounds for Horford were both season-highs.
 
Horford’s breakout performance came on the heels of a 121-114 loss to Detroit, a game in which Boston’s $113 million man (Horford) only took five shots.
 
“Coach [Brad Stevens] didn’t say anything about going to him just specifically,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “We just found him and made the right play and when he got it he was very aggressive.” 
 
Part of Horford’s success was that he was in more of an attacking mentality. But he also benefited from a Kings defense that didn’t double-team him nearly as much as the Pistons did. 
 
“I got a lot of early looks in the game and like I said [following the Pistons loss] I think the Pistons did a good job defending and doubling and forcing me to pass the ball. [Friday night] I had more opportunities to be aggressive.”
 
Facing a Sixers team that ranks among the NBA’s worst in several defensive categories, Horford and the rest of his Celtics teammates should have ample opportunities to make plays offensively. 
 
And in doing so, they will be able to add on to what has been an already impressive stretch of play this season away from home.
 
“I think it will be good,” Horford said. “[Tonight] it’s a Philly team that plays hard and we just want to keep building on [Friday night’s win over Sacramento] and just try to be better.”
 

 

Al Horford makes his mark on Celtics win with defense

Al Horford makes his mark on Celtics win with defense

BOSTON – Al Horford had the kind of game that stands out because of the way he scored from so many different spots on the floor. 

But the true measure of his value to this team usually lies in what he brings to the floor defensively. 

Horford had one of his better games defensively in Boston’s 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday, a game in which he had a season-high six blocked shots. 

For the season, the four-time All-Star is averaging a career-high 2.9 blocks per game.

He’ll be looking to do more of the same tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

While Philly doesn’t have a player as dominant and difficult to contain as DeMarcus Cousins, their top post player Joel Embiid has been impressive even with a minutes restriction after having missed the last two seasons with injuries and recovery. 

Against Sacramento, he had a season-high six blocked shots which was one short of tying his career high which came against the Kings during the 2010-2011 season. 

Although Horford has ranked among the NBA’s top big men when it comes to blocking shots, the Celtics knew when they signed him to a four-year, $113 million contract they were adding a player who could help with rim protection. 

The biggest play in the Celtics’ win over Sacramento came in the closing seconds when Horford was credited with blocking DeMarcus Cousins’ shot. Horford was fouled and went to the line and made his free throws to secure the victory. 

“Playing at the power forward position it really frees me up defensively,” Horford said. “I feel like I can run around a little more and have more impact. When you are a center a lot of the times you get caught up with the bigs and it’s a little harder to get out to shooters and stuff. I’m just trying to be active, as active as I can.”

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas who was among the Green Teamers to recruit Horford to sign with Boston, seeing him protect the rim the way he did on Friday was no surprise.

“We’ve always known when we recruited him we knew that was what he was good at,” Thomas said. “Even if he doesn’t block shots, he alters shots and changes them. He’s a hell of a player on both ends of the floor and he played a hell of a game (on Friday).”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens likes what he sees out of Horford defensively, especially now that he plays for Boston and not Atlanta which eliminated the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs last season. 

“He was terrific in our series,” Stevens said. “Terrific. And so, playing him 10 times last year, and so, I mean, I think I’m an idiot but after 10 times I had at least an idea. You know, he’s all over the place and he covers a lot of ground, he calls out calls, and I think he’s a competitive guy. And that proof is in his winning track record.”