Mickael Pietrus, who was clutch in the Celtics' Game 5 win, said O'Neal texted him before the game, providing a source of inspiration for the veteran swingman.
"I got a text from Shaq. He was telling me keep believing and keep playing, so that's what I did," Pietrus said after the victory.
O'Neal, of course, is now an NBA analyst for TNT, while Pietrus remains a key component of the Celtics' playoff run. Pietrus has provided superb defense throughout the postseason, but his ability to knock down outside shots makes him that much more dangerous.
Pietrus registered 27 minutes on Tuesday, scoring 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting. He was 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, which included a huge bucket off a tip pass from Rajon Rondo with about six minutes to play. The trey, which came after a big block by Dwyane Wade, halted a 9-0 Miami run and cut Boston's deficit to three points.
"When Rondo took that rebound and kicked it out to me, I knew I had to take a shot and make it, so that's what I did," Pietrus said.
The Celtics hope that's what Pietrus continues to do — Shaq or no Shaq. But given the way Tuesday's game played out, it may be wise for head coach Doc Rivers to ask Shaq to lend another helping hand before Game 6.