Shaq is Celts' only question mark for Sunday

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Shaq is Celts' only question mark for Sunday

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM There was a Shaquille O'Neal sighting at the Boston Celtics' practice facility on Thursday.

Whether we see him in Game One of the C's first-round playoff series with the New York Knicks, remains to be seen.

"If you ask Shaq, he'll tell you he's going to give it a go on Sunday," Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com. "But I honestly don't know. It's hard to put an expectation on whether he will go or not go at this point. We'll have to wait and see."

The next couple of days will go far in determining if O'Neal will return to the Celtics' lineup.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who addressed the media prior to Thursday's practice, said O'Neal would participate in the team's practice.

"We're not going to do nothing . . . we're going to walk through stuff," Rivers said. "I could do today's practice. But tomorrow and the following day are the two big days for Shaq. He's going to try and get through practices and see what he can do."

The impact of O'Neal on the Celtics is undeniable.

When you get past Boston's Big Four of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, no Celtic player had a better plusminus than O'Neal who is plus-5.2 points per game.

Although he's only averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, O'Neal is shooting an impressive 66.7 percent from the field.

The only issue with O'Neal is his health.

A series of injuries have limited him to a career-low 37 games played this season.

The injuries, plus the fact that the 39-year-old is the league's oldest player, makes his return one the Celtics are cautiously optimistic about heading into their first-round series.

Ainge told CSNNE.com that he does expect O'Neal to play at some point against the Knicks, but isn't ready to commit to him being ready to go Sunday.

"We've had injuries all season, but, yeah, we're about as healthy now as we've been all season," Ainge said. "The only real question mark we have health-wise right now, is Shaq."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.

Kings Insider James Ham: "DeMarcus Cousins loves Sacramento; more likely to sign contract extension than get traded"

Kings Insider James Ham: "DeMarcus Cousins loves Sacramento; more likely to sign contract extension than get traded"

CSNCalifornia.com Kings Insider James Ham joined Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely on this week's Celtics Talk podcast to talk about DeMarcus Cousins and the never ending trade rumors.