Report: Shaq out, Perkins will start

Report: Shaq out, Perkins will start

By A. Sherrod Blakely

BOSTON has confirmed that Shaquille O'Neal, who has been bothered by a sore hip recently, will not play.

"He's out tonight," C's coach Doc Rivers told shortly after the team's pre-game walk-through at the Garden.

Moments later, Boston's Kendrick Perkins confirmed to that he would be making his first start of the season.

"I'm ready," Perkins said.

Perkins, who missed the first 43 games of the season while recovering from a torn MCL and PCL injury suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals last June, has been a solid contributor off the Celtics bench since returning to action.

However, Rivers has maintained all along that at some point Perkins would re-enter the starting lineup.

With O'Neal's ailing hip and Perkins' strong play during the team's recent West coast trip, making the change at this point made sense.

By re-introducing Perkins into the starting unit, the Celtics will field what's clearly the best starting five unit at their disposal.

It is unclear what will happen when O'Neal returns to the lineup, but in all likelihood he will join the second unit which is the group that the C's envisioned him playing with at the start of the season.

O'Neal, who is averaging career-lows in just about every statistical category, anticipated his numbers would fall off once he agreed to join the Celtics.

And whether it's starting or coming off the bench, O'Neal has repeatedly said it doesn't make a difference to him.

"When I was younger in my career, starting was a necessity for myself, for my position and for my brand," O'Neal said. "But I've done everything individually more than anyone playing the game now. Stat-wise, I'm right up there. I wasn't brought here to put up big numbers. I was just brought in to fit in. When I had the conversation with Doc, it doesn't matter to me. I've been on both sides of the fence before, starting, coming off the bench. It doesn't' matter to me. Whatever the team, whatever the city needs me to do, I'll do."

Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder


Warriors force Game 7 with 108-101 win over Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, and the defending champion Golden State Warriors forced a seventh game in the Western Conference finals with a 108-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

Stephen Curry bounced back from a slow start to finish with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Warriors, who set the league's regular-season record with 73 wins, will host Game 7 on Monday. The winner will play Cleveland in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City dominated Games 3 and 4 at home, but the Warriors made 21 of 44 3-pointers on Saturday, while Oklahoma City was 3 of 23.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 28 for the Thunder. But Durant made just 10 of 31 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 27.

Trying to become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit, the Warriors trailed much of the game and trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.

Thompson kept them in it with four 3-pointers in just over seven minutes to start the period. Curry then hit two 3s, the second of which tied the game at 99 with 2:47 to play.

Thompson's 3 with 1:35 to play put the Warriors up 104-101.

The Thunder, who blew a number of fourth-quarter leads during the regular season, fell apart in the final minutes after Golden State had finally gone ahead for good.

Westbrook lost control of the ball, and after Thompson missed a 3, Westbrook turned the ball over again. Curry's layup with 14.3 seconds to play put the Warriors up by five, the Thunder turned it over again, and the Warriors were in the clear.

The Thunder led 23-20 after one quarter, then seized momentum early in the second. Steven Adams' powerful one-handed dunk on Draymond Green drew a roar from the crowd and gave Oklahoma City a 37-28 lead. Green, who had hit Adams in the groin area twice during the series, was a constant target for the vocal Thunder fans.

Thompson opened the second half with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 54-53 edge, but the Thunder closed the quarter strong and led 83-75 heading into the fourth.

Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed


Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones shot and killed

By Kurt Helin, NBC Pro Basketball Talk

This is a sad and stunning development.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, the rookie guard of the New Orleans Pelicans, has died, the Dallas, Texas, County Coroner has confirmed to NBC Sports. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune broke the news.

Dejean-Jones was just 23.

The coroner’s office would not give a cause of death, but Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports had the tragic detail.