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Celtics' Shaquille O'Neal Still Making An Impact

Shaquille O'Neal may not be the dynamic, game-changing center he once was, but he certainly isn't washed up. His 23-point, five-block performance on Friday night in the Boston's 99-94 win over Charlotte proved that he can still be productive. Read more at CelticsBlog.

For a brief 35 minutes on Friday night, Shaquille O'Neal looked like The Diesel of old. A dunk here, a block there and an all-around energizing performance from the 15-time All-Star led the Celtics to a 99-94 win over the Charlotte Bobcats at TD Garden.

O'Neal finished with a game-high 23 points, five rebounds and five blocks in 35 minutes. Shaq made 10-of-12 shots, and even more impressively made 3-of-3 free throws. Here are O'Neal's numbers on the season after Friday's solid performance.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Shaquille O`Neal 30 21.5 3.9 5.7 68.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.2 4.0 55.8 1.4 3.6 5.0 0.8 1.6 0.3 1.1 3.4 10.0

His performance at the Garden on Friday was reminiscent of his glory days with the Los Angeles Lakers, playing alongside he who shall not be named (a.k.a. Kobe Bryant). In those days, O'Neal was a tour de force, making an impact on both ends of the court and terrorizing opponents.

At age 38, it's not likely that O'Neal will be terrorizing the competition on a nightly basis, and he certainly hasn't done so every night in his 30 games with the Celtics. Here's a look at his game log (via Yahoo! Sports) for the month of January.

Regular Season FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
 Date Opponent Score GS Min   M A Pct   M A Pct   M A Pct   Off Def Tot   Ast TO Stl Blk PF Pts  
 Jan 14 CHA W 99-94 1 35:13   10 12 83.3   0 0 N/A   3 3 100.0   2 3 5   2 3 0 5 4 23  
 Jan 12 SAC W 119-95 1 13:25   1 2 50.0   0 0 N/A   0 0 N/A   1 0 1   1 3 1 1 4 2  
 Jan 10 HOU L 102-108 1 20:35   3 3 100.0   0 0 N/A   4 4 100.0   0 2 2   2 0 0 0 1 10  
 Jan 8 @ CHI L 79-90 1 19:30   2 4 50.0   0 0 N/A   1 2 50.0   0 4 4   1 0 0 2 4 5  
 Jan 7 TOR W 122-102 1 20:44   6 9 66.7   0 0 N/A   0 4 0.0   3 3 6   2 2 0 0 2 12  
 Jan 5 SAS W 105-103 1 20:32   2 3 66.7   0 0 N/A   0 3 0.0   0 1 1   0 1 0 1 3 4  
 Jan 3 MIN W 96-93 1 30:20   4 6 66.7   0 0 N/A   1 1 100.0   0 2 2   1 1 0 1 2 9  
 Jan 2 @ TOR W 93-79 1 24:20   3 3 100.0   0 0 N/A   1 5 20.0   0 6 6   0 1 0 4 4 7

If those numbers don't perfectly define inconsistency, then you'll just have to send me the newest edition of the Merriam Webster.

That's not a knock on O'Neal in the least, considering that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge didn't bring the Big Shamrock into town to be a super star. Ainge brought Shaq in to be an extra veteran presence with a drive to win, and at the very least, an extra pair of legs, albeit big ones.

Shaq has proven to be much more than dead weight (a LOT of weight, listed at 325 pounds), giving the Celtics a boost when then need it. Sure, there have been times when he hasn't come through, but again, that's what you get when your management's specialty is signing talent out of nursing homes (see: Rasheed Wallace).

But when push comes to shove, I would much rather have O'Neal on the court than Jermaine O'Neal, Glen Davis or Semih Erden. The reason being, O'Neal is a winner (four-time NBA champion, three-time Finals MVP, 2000 NBA MVP), and he knows what it takes to reach the top.

Until the Celtics' other winning center, Kendrick Perkins, returns to health, O'Neal is the seven-footer that I want out there playing center. Because more often than not, when Shaq's on the court, good things will happen.