By tomorrow the Eastern Conference side in the NBA Finals will be decided with the Celtics and Cavaliers battling it out in what promises to be a thrilling Game 7 at the TD Garden.
The series so far has seen LeBron James continue to thrill with some scintillating solo-performances while Boston’s young core have proved their ready now.
For the Celtcs they have got this far without the services of arguably their two best players in Irving or Gordon Hayward.
While Hayward’s absence has been felt since the opening day of the season, Irving’s setback happened just before the playoffs.
It has allowed the likes of Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to play extended minutes and they have exceeded all expectations so far.
But heading into an all important Game 7 at home, O’Neal suggests the Celtics won’t be mentally ready to be able to beat the Cavaliers.
“I think it’s a lot of pressure on them,” O’Neal said on NBA on TNT.
“Right now, they’re young fellas and in order not to be young fellas they’ve got to persevere.
“Are they ready to persevere? I don’t know. I don’t think so.
“I need one guy from Cleveland to step up and have a nice game: J.R. [Smith]. If J.R. can have a nice game and LeBron does what he does the…”
“I like the Celtics, but when you’re young you have a different mentality and this is pressure, pressure they’ve never felt before.”
He added: “They’re going to be out there thinking ‘we’re one game from the Finals’.
“‘If we don’t do this Kyrie is coming back next year and then I might not start.’
“They’ve got too much going on.”