Somehow, someway, it appears that Shaquille O’Neal has turned back the hands of times and found his swagger. Year after year people write off the Big Aristotle and year after year, especially the past three years, Shaq has been dominant for the most part, in the post. This year he’s nimble, he’s quick, he’s playing defense and he makes the Celtics deadly inside.
While his numbers don’t necessarily show him as a true dominant force, his impact for the Boston Celtics this year has been huge. When he is in the game, there doesn’t appear to be an Eastern Conference Center that can keep Shaq at bay. Should anyone be surprised? He’s Superman, and I’m not talking about Dwight Howard type, fake Superman, Shaq is the true son of JOR ‘El.
Shaq had 25 points and 11 rebounds against the Nets Wednesday night. Shaq scored 25 points while shooting 9 for 10 from the field. Those are all lay-ups. Sure it’s the Nets, but Shaq makes life easier for every team he’s on. The Celtics as a veteran bunch take advantage of his ability and they unlike the Cavs and unlike the Suns, make sure to give Shaq his touches when he’s in the game. The result is usually high percentage shots, easy buckets, dunks, and fouls drawn on.
Sure it’s the Nets, but tell me another starting center playing for Shaq’s salary of less than $2M and limited minutes, in the Eastern Conference that is giving that type of production. Hell, Chris Bosh only has 3 double digit rebounding games on the entire season.
Perhaps the injustice in all of this is that as well as Shaq is playing and as well as Boston is rolling, they somehow left Shaq off the Allstar ballot. Boston fans and bettors have every reason to start picking this Celtics team to come out of the Eastern Conference. At this point picking them to win the NBA championship is also a great bet. The bottom line to me is that Shaq was the most dominant center in the game once upon a time, and in a league where 7 foot centers are rare and soft, I like the Big Diesel’s chances in Shaq vs anyone, including Pau Gasol.