Shaq says he’s “85 percent,” could be back next week

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Danny Ainge has placed a big bet on Shaquille O’Neal. He went from the summer insurance plan to the guy who should be the starting center for the Celtics in the playoffs.

If he’s healthy.

The Celtics yesterday decided to stop guessing when he might be back, but Shaq himself told ESPNBoston — at his birthday party, where he had a cake so big it was sponsored (we’re not making that up) — he was feeling about 85 percent and could be back as soon as next week.

“[The Celtics] want me back at 100 percent,” said O’Neal. “I tried to run on it the other day, felt pretty good, but afterwards we kind of took a step back, so hopefully in a few days, in a week or so, I’ll be back.”

That’s the way the Celtics manage all their injuries — get the guy to 100 percent for the playoffs, if it costs the team regular season games that’s okay. It’s a strategy that worked well last year.

Ainge is betting it works again.

Dumped by Heat, Shabazz Napier hits game-winning 3-pointer against Miami (video)

Shabazz Napier, C.J. Watson
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After only one season, the Heat gave up on former first-rounder Shabazz Napier – sending him to the Magic in a salary dump.

Napier got some revenge by hitting the game-winning 3-pointer in Orlando’s 100-97 win over Miami.

It’s only the preseason, but Napier had to feel great about that shot.

Report: Matt Barnes texted friend that he beat up Derek Fisher, spat in wife’s face

Derek Fisher, Matt Barnes, Russell Westbrook
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Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes reportedly attacked Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating his estranged wife, Gloria Govan.

New details are emerging, and they cast Barnes in an even worse light.

Ian Mohr of the New York Post:

Sources told The Post that Barnes became incensed when his 6-year-old twin sons, Carter and Isaiah, called to tell him that Fisher was at the house.

Following the dust-up, Barnes, 35, texted a pal that he had not only assaulted Fisher, 41, but also took revenge on Govan, one source said.

“I kicked his ass from the back yard to the front room, and spit in her face,” the text read, according to the source.

If this becomes a criminal case, Barnes’ text could incriminate him.

In the court of public opinion, the presence of Barnes’ children and his spitting in his wife’s face make this even more disturbing.

Unfortunately, not everyone views it that way. Too many are laughing off the incident.

Albert Burneko of Deadspin had the best take I’ve seen on this situation:

When an accused domestic abuser shows up uninvited at a family party to—as a source put it to the New York Post—“beat the shit” out of someone for the offense of dating his ex, that is not a wacky character up to zany shenanigans. It is not reality TV melodrama or a cartoon or celebrities being silly. It is the behavior of a dangerous misogynist lunatic. It is an act of violent aggression. It is a man forcefully asserting personal property rights over a woman’s home, body, and life. It differs from what Ray Rice did in that elevator by degree, not by kind, and not by all that much.

I suggest reading it in full.