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June 11, 2004

Shaquille O'Neal


Q. Are you surprised by their defense and the effectiveness, and is it getting more difficult as it's going on to solve it with Karl being hurt the way he is?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'm not surprised. We know and understand that they are an aggressive defensive team. But like I've been saying all playoffs, this isn't anything I'm not used to or anything that I haven't seen before. So, we just need to make a few adjustments and just go out and execute and be more careful with the ball, and if we do that, then we'll be fine. It's all about us. It's all about what we need to do. They are not doing anything that's, you know, putting us out of character. We are putting our own selves out of character, like that hat this guy is wearing up front. It's not a character hat; that's an out-of-character hat. (Laughter).

Q. When you hear the suggestion that people are saying that you're old, slow, weak, how do you take that?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Of course I'm getting older, but I'm not slow and weak. In order for me to be me, I have to continue to do the things that I'm doing. I'm still shooting 60 percent from the line. I can still cause people to send three or four guys. I can still cause defenders to flop and beg for the call. Of course I'm slower and weaker but I'm still me. I'm still Diesel, and I look better than you, so it doesn't matter. (Laughter) .

Q. On a different note, can you talk about the relationship between the NBA and Hollywood, such as some of the movie stars and movie producers, and how does that relationship help you personally off the court?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I just know that they appreciate our work like we appreciate their work. Sports does a lot, you know, for the average man, you work all day and deal with your boss all day, and you want to come home and drink a beer and watch sports; that's where I come in. You know, for me, I work all day, get fouled all day, I want to go home and watch a good movie. So, you know, we have a pretty good understanding relationship.

Q. How does that help you off the court, getting movie roles or commercials or anything like that, that relationship?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It really doesn't help me. I haven't done a movie in a while. My last movie got me an Emmy. I think it was Kazaam; that got me the Emmy, and ever since then, I've just been chilling.

Q. How frustrating is it to go through the next few days with a memory of last night's game in your mind, and do you play things over and over in your head thinking, "I should have done this" or "I should have done that"?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It's real frustrating, but, you know, it's more about us in that we just have to execute our offense and we just have to do the little things. Once we decide to do the little things, we'll be fine. This is just another game that we let slip away, so now we just have to try to get this one on Sunday.

Q. You keep saying that it's things that you guys have to do, but you failed to break 70 points for the first time ever in a playoff game. Is there something that they are doing offensively to change the way you guys are playing?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: They are a pretty good defensive team, but we are used to aggressive defense teams. We just have to take care of the ball. We have to be more aggressive on offense. I think they have shot 30 or 40 more free throws than we have shot. They are real aggressive, the guards are going to the bucket and mixing it up. We are just relying on the jumper a little bit too much. But we'll be okay. I'm not worried.

Q. You said it's about you, you said it's about you guys and the adjustments you have to make. Specifically, from your standpoint, could you talk about maybe one or two of what those adjustments have to be?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We just have to execute on offense. We have to control the boards. And we have to, you know, just you know act like we want it.

Q. You've said just about every time you've come in here that you're not getting enough touches, you're not seeing the ball enough, at what point does that back so frustrating for you that -- when does it start to happen and have you talked to Phil about this?

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It gets very frustrating sometimes. We have a lot of weapons on this team. You try to keep everybody involved. But I've always said that if a team is going to play me single coverage, got to make them pay, and we haven't made this team pay yet. We are relying on jumpers and we are relying on other stuff. I think we need to make this team pay.

End of FastScripts...

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