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Jermaine is currently one of the NBA Playoffs top shot blockers and it shouldn't be a surprise. Despite only playing 24 regular season games he was 4th on the team in blocks at 30. O'Neal is only averaging 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game, and while his postseason numbers don't jump off the board, if you watch the games his presence is undeniable.

As the last line of defense JO contests every shot near the rim, even if he doesn't get the block he often changes it at the last second. It's hard to expect a player to help on the shot and come up with the defensive rebound after the miss, that'w why Coach Doc Rivers has challenged his players to get back on the glass and crash the defensive boards. With O'Neal swatting at shots and KG gathering the misses, Boston is starting to figure it out.

In the first round against NY The Celtics defense showed glimpses of what it could be. Rondo was pressuring the ball, Ray was helping while still making sure to get out and contest shots, Pierce provided the game with a little bit of everything, Garnett locked it down in the fourth quarter, and Jermaine O'Neal was protecting the rim against anybody who was lucky enough to sneak through. JO also providing that playoff toughness that everyone was looking for. He battled down low, delivered hard fouls, and got into it with anyone that took exception. What more can you ask from a center who's starting alongside four All-Stars?

In the 2nd round Boston will most likely be facing the Miami Heat. Just last season JO was a 2nd or 3rd option behind MVP Candidate Dwayne Wade. Jermaine started 70 games and posted a career high in FG% (52%). Alongside Wade O'Neal anchored a defense that was statistically one of the best. The most amazing part of the 2010 Miami Heat is that other than Wade and JO they had hardly any players that were known as great individual defenders. Quentin Richardson is a notoriously poor defender, Michael Beasley has since shown that defense difficult for him to grasp, and no one would ever crown Carlos Arroyo as a lock down defensive point guard. Jermaine O'Neal almost single handedly propelled the Heat's defense to be the 2nd best defensive unit in the NBA.

People can mock Jermaine for him being injury prone, they can mock him for contributing basically zero this season, they can even give him grief about his off court business ventures while away on rehab, but one thing they can't do is deny the fact that 75% of Jermaine O'Neal is one hell of a 5th option on a team with 4 All-Stars. It even seems as if Doc Rivers has feels the same exact way, there were crucial 4th Quarter moments in that Knicks series where he elected to roll with JO as opposed to Glen Davis, and while that's a whole different argument, it's hard for anyone to disagree with the Doctor.

Jesse Dampolo 4/26/2011 11:15:00 PM Edit
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14 Responses so far.

  1. Neil Anderson says:

    exactly right....JO has been huge for us so far in the playoffs and we don't really need him to be scoring a lot, like KG said "theirs plenty of scorers on the team", if he just keeps playing like he has on defense it will be no problem goin against LA or someone else in the finals...and of course get number 18

  2. tb727 says:

    He's been terrific. I'd really like to have Shaq for the last 3 series too though. I think he'd be a big advantage vs Miami and if they play the Flakers, will definitely negate their "length" that's constantly spoken about.

    In an ideal world, I'd prefer Glen Davis not playing one minute matched-up with Gasol or Bynum.

  3. @TB Agree on the Glen Davis thing.

    Another good matchup though is Jeff Green against LA, Ron Artest was a big factor on the boards as well #8 could help with that.

  4. tb727 says:

    Very true. Let's say for example they played Green at the 3 with KG and either Jermaine and Shaq up front. And they decided to slide Paul to the 2 guard with Rondo. Derek the snake fisher isn't able to defend Paul because he'll post up all day, something Ray doesn't do as much. Definitely gives the Celtics more options.

    As for Glen Davis, I'm fine with him defending Odom for some stretches. But I HATE him guarding Gasol or Bynum because they just easily shoot right over the top of him. It's an enormous disadvantage.

  5. Neil Anderson says:

    as for the next round which will most likely be against the heat, i think JO will do great because he most likely will have to play Haslem, cuz Bosh is too afraid to play at center, and all the backups for the heat at center are a bunch of bums....joel anthony, Big Z, erick dampier, and juwan howard....no of them are any good so that should be a field day for JO....and im pretty sure Big Baby can defend those guys and play them in the low post on offense to

  6. Beantown says:

    It's definitely going to take a group effort to beat Miami. We need good games out of JO as well as Big Baby, and even then we're going to need a great game out of KG too because he'll be playing 50/50 between the PF and C spots. We're also going to need some good games out of Jeff Green, particularly on defense since he's going to be responsible for Lebron at times.

    I hate to be already talking about the officials, but the way they call this series is going to be important. If they call it consistent on both sides, I can live with that. But I am going to throw my TV out the window if Lebron/Wade/Bosh start getting to the line any time there is even a tiny little bit of contact. Like I said though, if it's consistent on both ends and Ray/Paul/KG are getting to the line I can live with it. But all in all, I think the key is going to be how they decide to call this series in Boston/Miami.

  7. Bottom line Miami Heat doesn't have the clutch factor of closing out a game or even winning a series against Boston. Provided that Shaq makes his long awaited return then it's PGA Tour for the Heat after 6 games w/ the celtics.

  8. HeatFan says:

    The cadavre of J.O. is supposed to be enough? Man, you are pathetic. We're gonna dominate ya!

  9. Lebron James says:

    Sorry to disappoint you HeatFan, but if any of the games are remotely close I'm totally going to choke. Just a heads up!

  10. .chuckT. says:

    Heat 'Fan' [as of 2010], Did you watch ANY of the fucking regular season? Did you watch when the C's and the Heat played??
    umm i believe the season series was 3-1 man.

    But we'll see..

  11. HeatFan says:

    Since when does a REGULAR SEASON series mean anything you little piece of waste? We're gonna take you down hard!!!

  12. DH says:

    How are you going to "take us down hard" when LeBrick can't make any clutch shots, and had a hard time when we put 6'1 Rondo on him? Bosh is afraid of KG and Wade has consistently had difficulties when matched up with Ray Allen.

    Aside from those 3, do you think the Heat role players are better than the C's role players? Serious question. Also, look at bench vs bench.

    And if we want to look at playoffs as opposed to regular season, let's look at playoffs since the Pierce - KG - Allen era. To my recollection, the team that has knocked both Lebron's and Wade's teams out of the playoffs in recent years (aside from 2009 when KG was injured) has been.... drum roll... the Celtics.

  13. HeatFan says:

    You guys are right, Miami doesn't even deserve to have a team... never mind have two MVP candidates on the same team... Heat will be luck if they don't get swept.

  14. DH says:

    You still haven't addressed any of the specific points in my last post.

    I am not saying the Heat are push-overs and we will sweep them, as I don't think that will be a case. I think it will be a good hard-fought series.

    I was referring to the comment you previously made that you were going to "take us down hard." I just wanted to get a road map of how that will happen in a 7 game series in light of the points made above.

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