It didn’t take long for call to go out
CLEVELAND — Shaquille O’Neal warned this month that NBA officials are going to become so powerful because of the crackdown on player reaction to calls that their jerseys should be available at
After getting issued a technical foul during the fourth quarter of last night’s 95-87 loss to the Cavaliers, O’Neal may search for a particular jersey.
Referee Bob Delaney whistled Nate Robinson for a technical when he kneed Ryan Hollins in the groin area on a drive to the basket with the Celtics leading, 77-76, with 8:32 left. O’Neal was then whistled for an additional technical for arguing the call. Television replays showed that Robinson, who is 5 feet 9 inches, tried to clear space to convert a layup against the 7-foot Hollins. After the game, Robinson claimed the contact was accidental.
“Bob said I made an overt act,’’ O’Neal said. “But I was just trying to explain why Nate kicked [Hollins]. I’ve gotta go and get my Bob Delaney jersey when I get home. I am going to go and order that.’’
Daniel Gibson hit both technical free throws for a 78-77 lead, Antawn Jamison followed with a runner, and Cleveland would never relinquish the momentum.
“I don’t really know what the rule is. I didn’t have an angry voice, I didn’t have an angry face or a loud voice,’’ O’Neal said. “I was just explaining, but who knows?’’
They were the Celtics’ first two technicals of the season, and coach Doc Rivers despises fourth-quarter miscues.
“That’s our one rule, no fourth-quarter techs, and we get two of them,’’ said Rivers. “Honestly, I can’t say I saw the Nate Robinson thing. I didn’t see what really happened. I don’t know if that warranted a tech. Shaq, that’s respect for the game, I guess.’’
O’Neal, who struggled mightily from the field during last year’s playoffs against the Celtics while with the Heat, missed all three of his field goal attempts and 1 of 2 free throws, looking uncomfortable with his release. O’Neal shot nearly 53 percent last season in 70 games with Miami, but then missed 35 of 44 shots during the playoffs. He is playing with torn cartilage in his left (non-shooting) wrist.
“What he gives us offensively is great, but we didn’t bring Jermaine in here to give us 20 points a night,’’ Rivers said. “We brought him in here to be a rebounder, defender, pick setter, a role player. And when he’s open we’re going to give him the ball and ask him to shoot it and we hope it goes in. But that’s not a concern at all for me.’’
O’Neal didn’t play much during the preseason and said he will wear a brace on his wrist until it heals.
“It’s just a matter of dealing with the pain,’’ he said before last night’s game. “But I think if you ask anybody around the league, they aren’t healthy. I just have to keep working on my shot and get better.’’
Several Cavaliers fans, still seething at LeBron James, congratulated Rivers on the Celtics’ victory in the opener.
The Cavaliers are trying to move on after James’s departure, stripping down many posters of his image and placing a single note of his achievements on the team’s Wall of Fame that lines the hallway leading to the locker rooms at Quicken Loans Arena.
“There’s always change,’’ Rivers said. “It happens and there’s nothing you can do about it. Teams have been down before and back up. The Celtics have, the Lakers have, Cleveland has. They’ll be back.’’
The fact the Celtics were facing the Cavaliers a night after playing the Heat wasn’t lost on Rivers.
“It is an interesting quirk,’’ Rivers said. “And I thought we’d better win because if we lost that game then they would really boo us [in Cleveland]. I did notice that right when the schedule came out. I got a lot of handshakes today [from Cavaliers fans]. They said thank you. I thought it was pretty funny.’’
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report; Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com.