The Cavs have gone 7-1 without O’Neal, including the game against the C’s. O’Neal left that matchup midway through the second quarter with the Celtics leading by 11. Without the big fella clogging the middle, the Cavs ran the C’s off the Garden court, cruising to a 108-88 win.
J.J. Hickson, a 6-foot-9 leaper in his second season, has shifted to the middle in O’Neal’s absence. It’s a switch that Perkins considers an upgrade.
“In my opinion, I think they’re better,” Perkins said. “They can run more. You’ve got Anderson Varejao, who’s more of an active body. He gets LeBron (James) open a lot - opens up the paint for him.
“I think they’re a better team. Obviously Shaq can help them, but I think they’re better - a more fast-paced team.”
Perkins is obviously correct that the Cavs are better without Shaq. I've been saying that since the Summer (the Suns too), so I have no problem with the above quotes. Now the following quote is a little troublesome.
“They still haven’t won nothing,” Perkins said after yesterday’s practice. “They’re just the best team in the league. They still haven’t done nothing we haven’t done.
I love Perkins complete honesty in interviews, but I'm not really into giving bulletin board material to a team that features the best player in the league and has been gunning for the Celtics since we knocked them out of the playoffs two years ago.