Thursday, October 14th, 2010 at 12:35 pm  |  46 responses

Jermaine O’Neal: ‘It’s Hard to Explain the Chemistry That We Have’

Tzvi Twersky | @TTwersky

Jermaine O’Neal’s only played three preseason games with the Boston Celtics yet he’s already at a loss for words to describe his new team.

“It’s hard to explain the chemistry that we have,” the veteran forward told Russ Bengtson before last night’s game against the New York Knicks. “I always try to picture words to express the feeling that I have about being here. You know, obviously the rich tradition of championships and all the guys that’ve played in this uniform. It’s definitely an honor and a pleasure to be involved in something like this.”

Asked if this team reminds him of any other that he’s played on, O’Neal, who’s played for four previous franchises, said it does.

“It feels like Portland my first couple of years,” replied the former All-Star, “with Sheed and Brian Grant and all those guys. It was so intense—Cliff Robinson, Sabonis. Every practice was just like, OK, let’s see can I get this off. Most teams you’re on you’re gonna dominate the guy that’s backing you up or the guy that you share time with. But here it’s like, OK, let me get stretched. Let me make sure I’m ready to go when Doc says let’s go.”

O’Neal’s had a quiet preseason (2.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg), but he attributes that to his being the new kid on the block coupled with a training camp injury.

“As a new player, you don’t want to come in and mess anything up,” JO said. “It’s still a work in progress. I ended up missing a week of practice caused I tweaked a hamstring the last day of training camp. So right now I’m catching up, and those guys—Kevin, Ray, Paul—have done a great job just talking to me. They must’ve put in like 20 sets in the week [that I missed]. So I’m trying to learn on the run.”

It’s still early in the year—heck, the regular season hasn’t even started yet—but Jermaine’s more excited for this campaign than he’s ever been.

“Everything that I’ve pictured it would be, it’s been that way. But it’s been probably five times better,” said O’Neal. “You look at the point in my career where the chapter’s coming to a close, and if I had to pick a group of guys to close it with, this is it right here.”

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  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Like these “original content” News items. Good stuff. I think the Celtics/Magic/Heat make for a BEAST of a top 3 in the East.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    As long as the NBA Champ comes out of the East, I’ll be happy….Boston, Orlando, Miami, it doesn’t matter.

  • Yo

    The celtics are going to win the championship no doubt. Does anyone really think joel anthony, mike miller, and eddie house are going to be able to stop their bench? Better yet can even steve blake, odom, barnes, and vujacic stop them? The answer is no.

  • ripslam

    If JO is motivated, he’ll do wonders for this team.

  • Jumper

    @Eboy, to be more specific I would like the champ to be an eastern team OR the Thunder. LOL

    Basically any body other than the lakers, lol

  • http://slamonline.com niQ

    What JO meant to say was, he has a mancrush for his whole team.

  • T-Money

    E: you lie! / And JO is done, stick a fork in him. I don’t think he’ll even be in the 10-man rotation once Perks comes back. (Big Baby, Nate, Shaq, D-West, Quis).

  • http://www.myspace.com/freedmusic fredd

    the C’s are frightening this season, the mental strengths seem really high + the super knowledge of the game/experience/vets/we’ve just lost the game 7 of the finals / combo, is a good one.

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    agreed with fredd.

  • T-Money

    fredd: you can see it that way. or, you could also say that they missed a golden opportunity last year and they’re a year older now and running on fumes. they added some key veterans but it’s always the same story for boston: if kg can go hard for 35 mins a game during the playoffs, they can win it all. and if he can’t, they can get beat in the 1st round.

  • LeBron de Con

    I’m afraid Celtics fans are going to be woefully disappointed this season. The vets are increasingly injury prone and the new blood is considerably less talented. There is only one thing that will dominate for the Celtics this season: old age.

  • hammer

    Man those blazer teams were stacked. 4 a few seasons they were hands down the most talented team n the L. A shame tho that they didn’t win a title. And blazers did f**k up by not playin jermaine more his early yrs.

  • fruizm

    i remember those blazers……grant, sheed, derek anderson, bonzi, stoudemire, sabonis, JO, and more!!

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Team Hospice.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    should be interesting…again the constant variable with this team will be age and injury….if they can hold their own against both, their is no reason they can’t come out of the Eastern Conference and win the NBA Championship…..The Celtics beat the ’08 Lakers who were imo a better team than both the ’09 and ’10 Lakers, like Doc said, the Lakers have yet to beat the C’s best starting 5….

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    @The Black Rick Kamla: I hate that rationale from Doc. He forgets that the C’s have yet to beat the Lakers starting five. No Bynum, No Ariza in 2008.

  • LD

    It’s because Jermaine, Doc, and Pierce all have the same birthday. October 13th.

  • http://www.twiter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    They need to play it like last year. Use the regular season to build chemistry, but don’t go too hard. Just get into the playoffs while keeping everyone fresh. Then make a run at the ring.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Jo will be swatting ish every game

  • vtrobot

    i know they are even older now, but the doubters have been saying the same thing since ’08. how has that turned out? they haven’t proven you wrong yet? running on fumes? that team? those players? please. that tank is at least 1/2 full and it’s got diesel in it now too. 2011 champs. @ fruizm: i moved to portland in 2000. jailblazers weren’t the winningest, but they were the most entertaining. when i first saw someone who resembles a clean-cut andre the giant throwing ally-oops to sheed, it blew my mind.

  • Elvis Freshly

    My boys are lookin good (no homo)… Double P has dropped some weight and is looking great. KG looks healthy, Rondo wants to be the best PG in the game, he’s in best mode. Ray, jumper isn’t going anywhere.

    Celtics vs Heat east con finals.

  • Elvis Freshly


  • http://thegoodpoint.com Sam Joynt

    Anyone as deep as O’Neal was in this article smokes a plethora of chronic.

  • Heals

    Sam that made my day after commenting about last nights technical fouls…

  • Thor

    my guess is that you do to mr. Joynt. JO IS deep, and I really respect him for that. Cool dude

  • Thor


  • http://www.slamonline.com AllDayEveryDay

    They still can’t handle athletic teams such as the Hawks and especially the HEat

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    JO, my man, I’m sorry that injuries kinda “ruined” his career (BBall wise I mean, not financially). There’s gonna b war in the East these playoffs. If players injuries don’t come and spoil everything, I think we r up 2 one of the most exciting and competitive seasons ever.

  • ripslam

    Let’s be real people. KG, Ray, and PP aren’t THAT old. Age is not taking much of a toll on Pierce, offensively or defensively. Ray might not hit as many shots, but those shots will likely be replaced by Rondo’s. KG is still at a high level, c’mon. He ATE UP Antawn Jamison last year. With the depth, experience, and motivation the Celts have, they’re going to be tough to beat.

  • http://brimartin13@gmail.com Brion

    I gotta say I hate that “no homo” thing everyones been saying lately. Do you really gotta explain your not a homosexual because you love someones game? Just saying

  • http://brimartin13@gmail.com Brion

    I love chocolate chip cookies (no homo)

  • MikeC.

    @ Brion. I second your motion. Dudes say “no homo” then usually follow it up with something that’s utterly and completely homo. Word to Ras Kass.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    J. O’Neal was a great pick-up by the Celtics.

  • Conoro

    The Black Rick Kamla Posted: Oct.14 at 2:52 pm
    “should be interesting…again the constant variable with this team will be age and injury….if they can hold their own against both, their is no reason they can’t come out of the Eastern Conference and win the NBA Championship…..The Celtics beat the ‘08 Lakers who were imo a better team than both the ‘09 and ‘10 Lakers, like Doc said, the Lakers have yet to beat the C’s best starting 5….”

    Good God almighty… I thought we were past this.

  • Harlem_World

    Those who keep saying the C’s are too old to win are either blinded by purple and gold or just don’t understand this game. Seriously. Yes, they are a team of vets – but the key point is, they are a team of DEEP vets. They don’t have to run anyone into the ground past 30, especially on the frontline when Perkins comes back. If you’re building a team to win in the playoffs you attack Miami’s weakness (frontline), have multiple bodies to throw at Howard and the Magic (plus have more heart on their bench than the Magic starting 5). Then it’s back to the finals against LA, who we saw were 1 Kendrick Perkins away from losing it to the C’s last year. If they are all healthy come playoffs, I can’t see how the C’s are not favored to win it all. Even if Bynum is healthy (who’s wheels are AT LEAST as questionable as the age factor of the C’s bigs…just sayin…).

  • Dutch

    everybody is saying that celtics are too old to make another run. i remember hearing that last year and look what happened.

  • doppler

    Russ and tvi with the goods.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Love to see the humility of this former all-NBA player. Wish the Celtics all the luck in the world as long as it isn’t against my Nuggets.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    If they stay healthy, the C’s have a bucketload of talent. Weakest position might be backup SG but depending on matchups, Nate, Marquis or someone else could play there. (especially since Ray will have his yearly run of bad shooting games at some point in the playoffs). The frontcourt though is monstrous. Apart from the legends, they still have Scowly McPerkins coming back AND they signed Erden, a guy who impressed me during the WBC’s. A very imposing Boston team, but the chemistry can go south fast due to Shaq, Delonte and Nate being there. Guessing it won’t though, they made it to the finals with Sheed after all.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    I really like all the moves the Cs have made in the off-season with the exception of picking up Delonte West. Just watching him play in the pre-season he was looking for his own shot way too much, and I’ve never really liked the dude’s attitude on the court. I hope Doc can keep him from screwing with the bench chemistry.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    I reckon it’s gonna be a war in the EC semis onwards. Celtics/Heat/Magic are gonna slaughter each other and a series between either team can easily go 6 games. Not to mention a tough darkhourse (Bucks? Hawks? Bulls? Wizards?) and theres not gonna be any sweeps. All this points to a tired and possibly injured EC team in the finals against the Lakers who’d probably drop no more than 2 games in the WC playoffs. I can imagine Kobe back to his best by then and beating whoever up in the finals. It’s a sad day for the NBA. And I really hope I’m completely wrong. – Big Nuggets fan, even bigger Laker hater.

  • Clay

    The Celtics have too much water and not enough Kool-Aid powder. Yeah they are deep, but when a team is bragging about its 6-10 players, they aren’t a Finals team, not with Miami and Orlando in the same conference.

  • Clay

    As hardcore basketball fans we like to recognize players that are undersold by the average fan, and Boston has a lot of these guys. But don’t put this team over Orlando or especially Miami.

  • JH

    Need 4 more people for a competitive H2H Yahoo League drafting this Sunday. Feel free to join…but be active.

    League ID#: 12722
    League Name: Justice League
    Password: password
    Draft Type: Live Standard Draft
    Draft Time: Sun Oct 17 8:00pm MDT [ Add to My Calendar ]
    Max Teams: 12
    Scoring Type: Head-to-Head

  • JalepinoSausage

    Because He Never Went to College !!

  • BostonBaller

    Those Blazers were more like Prison Break