Shaq, Barkley Put Celtics on Blast

May 22, 2023

If you’re watching the NBA east and west playoff series, we hope you’re fans of either the Miami Heat or the Denver Nuggets! Both series have been very, VERY one-sided, and after the latest performance (or should we say lack of performance) by the Boston Celtics, the Inside the NBA crew really let go with some powerful blasts.

In case you missed it this past Sunday evening, the Miami Heat turned up the heat in a big way on the Celtics, winning Game 3 by a score of 128-102. And even that showed a pretty substantial margin, the game wasn’t even that close…yikes! 

As Sir Charles stated in the post-game program, the game was over pretty much at the start of the second quarter. The Heat led by a full 30 points at the start of the fourth quarter, when both teams pretty much emptied the benches. 

As for Barkley, he lit the fire under the Celtics in the post-game show, but he certainly wasn’t alone. Our man Shaq was right there with him, and the former NBA superstar specifically called out Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Thanks to our friends at Sportskeeda for the graphic. 

In a post-game presser, Boston coach Joe Mazzulla took all the heat for his teams poor performance, saying he didn’t properly prepare the Celtics for the big game. Shaq was definitely not impressed: “I respect Joe Mazzulla for taking all the blame, but I don’t want to hear that. Let’s just keep it real: Celtics are way too cool for me. They’re too cool.”

We’re guessing the big man meant the Celtics played with no sense of urgency in a game where they were already down 0-2 to the Heat in the Eastern playoffs. That lack of fire was very much evident in the huge Game 3 loss. 

As for Celtics stars Tatum and Brown, they combined for 26 points while missing 23 of their 35 shots from the field. They were 1-for-14 from 3-point range in the opening three quarters and didn’t play in the fourth at all. As we said, by that time, Boston was already down by 30 at the start of the period. 

On the other hand, Shaq had very good things to say about the Heat. “Jimmy (Butler) and them, they came out and playing good, clean basketball,” O’Neal said. “They don’t have a shot, take your time, swing it to the open man. Celtics came out with no sense of urgency. The Heat knew what they had to do and they’re committed to doing it. They’ve been doing it all year.”

As for coach Mazzulla, Shaq said it would have been totally fair for the coach to shoulder some of the blame, but also let his players know they didn’t step up when needed. 

Shaq: “Listen, no coach got to tell me when I’m a superstar what I need to do.” Pretty clearly, a shot across the bow for both Tatum and Brown.

The series is now almost completely under Heat control. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Miami (as of this posting date). And with a 3-0 series lead, Heat fans are pretty comfortable in knowing no team has ever come back to win a best-of-seven after dropping the first three. Absolutely win-or-go-home for the Celtics. 

And in case you’re wondering, it’s pretty much exactly the same scenario out west, where the Denver Nuggets lead in their series over the Los Angeles Lakers by the same insurmountable 3-0 lead.

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