Shaquille O'Neal made his highly-anticipated return to action for the Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat on Saturday night at TD Garden.
Unfortunately, O'Neal looked like a shell of his former self, scoring two points and dishing out one assist in eight and a half minutes. Boston coach Doc Rivers wasn't expecting a performance for the ages from the NBA's oldest player.
"It's more the power and the force he can bring us," Rivers said before the game. "He can do that, in some ways, offensively with his duck-ins, and he can do that defensively in the rebounding area. And, listen, it's no fun to drive on Shaq. Our guys know that from practice.
"We'll let him dive in, [I told him], 'Just be you.' Obviously, Shaq can't do the things he did 15 years ago. And when he does do that, he doesn't play very well. When he comes in and kind of fills a role for this team, he's terrific for us. That's what we're hoping he can do." (via ESPN Boston)
O'Neal, who came off the bench in Game 3, will likely receive more minutes in Game 4 on Monday night. O'Neal averaged 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 37 regular season games this season for Boston.