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“I’m Punching Your Face”: Tempers Flare on Live TV as Shaquille O’Neal Slaps Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown With ‘Hero Ball’ Reality After Celtics’ Loss

Published 06/02/2023, 8:44 AM EDT

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This year’s Eastern Conference Finals provided some of the most intense games in the 2022-23 NBA playoffs. It witnessed the 17x NBA champions Boston Celtics force a game 7 after being down 0-3. They took inspiration from and came close to emulating what the Red Sox did to the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS. However, their run ended in the decider as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were powerless to prevent a blowout against Miami Heat. The team’s display at the TD Garden irked four-time NBA champion, Shaquille O’Neal.

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Tatum could not provide an encore of his Game 7 heroics against Philly, as he rolled his ankle right at the start. He remained on the court, but required Jaylen Brown and the rest of the team to step up. The Celtics’ no. 7 had a dismal outing, scoring 19 points and shooting 8 for 23. The stats got even worse considering his numbers of 1-of-9 from deep. This saw O’Neal make his feelings known.

Shaquille O’Neal shared what Boston Celtics should have done differently in Game 7


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After what was the sixth postseason defeat for the Celtics at the Garden, Shaquille O’Neal expressed his belief that such performances do not reflect championship-caliber play. ‘The Big Diesel’ opined that the players should have mixed it up and explained why. 

Shaquille O’Neal said, “The reason why I say mix it up; this is what the great shooters I play with…These guys missed two shots, he’s putting his head down. Kenny, you missed two shots you’re putting your head down, now you’re mixing it up.” Mixing it up is clearly something that didn’t happen enough for O’Neal. He even said what he would have done if a player on his team played “Hero Ball.”


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When my team goes 0/10 in the first quarter, you know what I’m telling everybody? Don’t shoot another three. Shoot another three and I’m punching your face.”

Boston trailed right from the time Max Strus’ three-pointer gave Miami the lead in the first quarter. The Celtics, who went 7/35 from the three in game 6, opted to shoot from beyond the arc once more. Unfortunately for them, it did not work out as they went 0/10 in the first quarter and ended the night with 9/42. 

Shaq also reflected on Joe Mazzulla’s coaching after the Celtics’ failure to reach the Finals. Charles Barkley blamed the coach for the team’s failure, while ‘The Big Diesel’ held a contradictory stance on the matter.

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The 15x all-star said that great players don’t need a coach to motivate them for the ultimate prize. Rather, coaches are there to motivate the other members of the team who often require it more than the stars. Jimmy Butler stepped up when it mattered most and the Heat will now be gearing up to face Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets.

How do Jimmy Butler and the Heat match up against Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets?

Butler and the Heat dominated the Celtics in the must-win game, leaving them helpless on both ends of the court. Moreover, Boston’s offensive struggles were evident throughout the game, as they failed to find any semblance of sustainability. The Celtics’ defensive efforts were equally underwhelming, unable to contain the relentless onslaught from the Miami Heat.

It was a dominant performance that showcased the Heat’s superiority, leaving no doubt about their prowess on the court. Shaq himself showed his approval of Butler’s performance by giving him a warm hug after the game.


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On the other hand, the Denver Nuggets have undeniably asserted their dominance in the playoffs, sweeping the Lakers. Led by the formidable duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, the Nuggets have displayed remarkable performances, overcoming the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and other seasoned veterans.

Both teams have demonstrated their resilience and ability to rise to the occasion, setting the stage for an exciting and fiercely contested NBA Finals.


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Update: Denver Nuggets beat Miami Heat to lead the NBA Finals 1-0. 

Watch This Story: Eyes Set On Buying Florida Based NBA Tea, Millionaire Shaquille O’Neal Now Linked With $3, 000,000,000 Deal



Almas Saad

311 articles

Edited By: Debmallya Chakraborty