On Monday, the Celtics lost a hotly contested game 105-103 against the fifth-place Atlanta Hawks, and despite spotty play from several of Boston’s key players, many are placing the blame on Shaquille O’Neal’s seventeen apple turnovers.
Though O’Neal had a respectable 18 points and 8 rebounds, his apple turnovers ultimately disrupted the Celtics’ offense and forced the men in green to play catch-up for much of the second half.
Ray Allen, shooting guard, said, “It was tough. We’d call isolation plays for Shaq, get the ball to him in the low post, and then find out that he was holding an apple turnover in his shooting hand. It’s really hard to keep the flow of the offense going when you have to wait for Shaq to finish eating before he shoots.”
Beyond hurting the flow of the offense, apple turnovers led to several missed opportunities for Boston. Rallying from a 10-point deficit, Rajon Rondo threw an alley-oop to O’Neal, only to realize that the veteran center had apple turnovers in both hands and could not handle the ball at the time.
Said Rondo, “Even when Shaq wasn’t having apple turnovers, he would leave powdered sugar all over the basketball. Do you know how slippery that stuff is?”
O’Neal has had problems with turnovers in the past, having averaged eight blueberry turnovers per game in the 2003 playoffs alone. However, defenders of O’Neal claim that, despite his turnovers, his teams have always managed to win important games. Monday’s game has forced some of these fans to reconsider the impact pastries have had on O’Neal’s career.
After the game, coach Doc Rivers tried to be pragmatic about the situation: “Let’s face it, Shaq’s gonna have a few apple turnovers in every game. The key is to learn from this game and minimize the amount of baked goods we allow in the future, whether they be apple turnovers or strawberry crumbles.”
Others, however, had difficulty maintaining their composure while commenting on the game. Glen “Big Baby” Davis, fourth year forward, said, “Shaq could have at least shared a couple of the apple turnovers. I mean, damn, those things looked good. And where was he keeping them, anyway? Every time I turned around, he was taking out another turnover like it was no big deal.”
Responding to the criticism, O’Neal was unusually sober. “I want to apologize to my teammates, my coach, and the fans for all of the apple turnovers I had today. I cost my team the game, and I take full responsibility for the loss.” After a pause, he added, “Still though, those turnovers were delicious. I mean, they had cinnamon baked right into the crust.”