Lakers legend says Celtics road to title was ‘too easy’ but gets attacked for hypocrisy

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Shaquille O’Neal said that the Boston Celtics did not have a difficult path to the 2024 title, but some are clapping back at the big man by pointing out that he picked the Dallas Mavericks to win the NBA Finals.

There’s an argument to be made that the Celtics’ path to a ring was one of the easier paths in modern NBA history. Boston eliminated the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers and Mavericks to earn another banner, and all of those teams were banged up when Boston played them.

Starting with the Celtics’ first-round matchup against the Heat, Jimmy Butler — arguably Miami’s best player — was sidelined for the entirety of the series after spraining his MCL. Additionally, Terry Rozier — who averaged 16.4 points per game with Miami during the 2023-24 regular season — did not suit up at all during the series due to a neck injury.

Fast forward to Boston’s second-round matchup against the Cavaliers, and Donovan Mitchell missed Games 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series with a calf injury after appearing in Games 1, 2 and 3. Big man Jarrett Allen also didn’t log a single minute of playing time against the Celtics.

Then, in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers, star floor general Tyrese Haliburton played in just half of the series’ four games.

Finally, while Luka Doncic played in each of the five games of the NBA Finals, he was dealing with knee and ankle soreness and was even questionable to play for the Mavericks ahead of Game 2.

Perhaps Los Angeles’ rivalry with the Celtics was a contributing factor as to why O’Neal was quick to discredit Boston’s title run. After all, the Celtics’ title in 2024 puts them ahead of the Lakers for the most titles of any franchise in the NBA with 18.

The Lakers are right behind the Celtics in that regard with 17 titles, and they won their most recent championship back in 2020.

Lakers fans are surely hoping that the team can win its 18th title in the year 2025 so that Los Angeles will be in a tie with the Celtics for most championships once again.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.