Shaquille O’Neal to miss 3rd straight playoff game

Shaquille O’Neal will miss his third straight playoff game for

the Boston Celtics with a right calf injury when they meet the New

York Knicks on Friday night.

Coach Doc Rivers made the announcement Wednesday. He said he

didn’t know if O’Neal will travel to New York but, if he does,

he’ll probably play in Sunday’s Game 4.The Celtics won the first

two games in Boston with go-ahead baskets in the final minute.

”He is going to try to do some things (Thursday) and we’ll

see,” Rivers said. ”He’s had some improvement, but I don’t know

how much.”

Jermaine O’Neal started both games at center.

The calf injury sidelined O’Neal for the last six regular-season

games. He had missed 27 straight games with a sore right leg before

hurting the calf in his first game back. He said he anticipates

that O’Neal will play at some point in the postseason.

”If he goes on the trip that means we think he’ll play that

Sunday,” Rivers said, ”but we’re not sure.”

Despite the 87-85 and 96-93 victories, he hasn’t been pleased

with the Celtics performances.

”We can play smarter,” he said. ”We gave them so many extra

possessions and things like that. A lot of it was our rotations

that we have to get better at, we have to be smarter at (but) we’re

2-0. That’s good, and the good thing is we have to play better and

we will play better.”

Ray Allen, who hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the opener, isn’t

thinking about whether the series will be a long one.

”I try not to get too far ahead,” he said Wednesday. ”The

next game can get away from you if you think about the fourth and

fifth and sixth games. It’s important to just look at the third

game.”

The Celtics watched film Wednesday but didn’t practice, although

several reserves scrimmaged.