CLEVELAND -- Admittedly, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman may have gotten too excited when gliding toward the hoop uncontested late in the second quarter of Sunday’s 121-99 win over the Boston Celtics in front of a capacity crowd at TD Garden.
After getting a steal, the 22-year old Osman drove down the floor and went up for a two-handed dunk. However, he threw it off the side of the rim and it ricocheted out of bounds. That one play got him plenty of attention on Twitter, as it was immortalized by the “Shaqtin’ a Fool” account, which is the social-media presence for a weekly NBA on TNT segment hosted by Shaquille O’Neal.
“After the game, there was a lot of it,” Osman said of the reactions on Twitter. “Seriously, a lot. The only thing, what I saw was that I get a mention from Shaqtin’ a Fool, saying ‘Welcome to Shaqtin’ a Fool, and that was the only one I was caring about, and I was laughing a lot about, but it’s all good.”
Although the missed dunk drew cheers from the Boston faithful, as well as reactions from his teammates, Osman took the moment in stride.
Osman settled into a rhythm after the missed dunk and scored nine of his 12 points over the final 26 minutes of action. Additionally, Osman pulled down five rebounds, handed out one assist and corralled one of Cleveland’s seven steals in the game.
“Probably, I got too excited,” Osman said. “It’s all good. I could tell this from the beginning of the season when I came here that I’m working on my mental progression.
“That was an important challenge for me when I missed that dunk. I kept playing, and then, coaches and my teammates kept supporting me. I just kept playing. For me, it was important to keep playing, and that’s what I did. Mental preparation was really good for me.”
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That mental preparation has resulted in solid play on both ends for the floor for Osman after the Cavaliers turned over their roster by trading away six players and a first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft in exchange for four new athletes and a draft selection at the NBA trade deadline last Thursday.
Over 68 minutes of playing time in the last two games, Osman has averaged 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
After playing against former Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving Sunday, Osman feels ready to handle the next challenge coming his way in the form of defending a high-scoring opponent, the Oklahoma City Thunder, in Cleveland’s final game ahead of the 2018 NBA All-Star Game break.
“Every day, I’m getting more confidence being on the court, and now, I’m just there trying to help, especially on defense,” Osman said. “(Boston) was a big challenge for me, guarding Kyrie.
“I think he’s the best point guard in the world right now, and with those handles, it was really tough for me. It was a great challenge, so if I start again, it’s going to be a great challenge guarding Paul George or Russell Westbrook. Russ is very good, a lot of energy, so it’s going to be another big challenge for me.”