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June 13, 2004

Shaquille O'Neal


Q. You guys, backs against the wall, all of the old cliches right now, what's the mood of the team and what will Tuesday be like?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Very upset. You know, we let one slip away. We came out real aggressive and we had it, just in the fourth quarter, we made some mistakes and the fouls went in their favor.
They were able to, you know, win the game, and so the TNT slogan stands true on Tuesday, win or go home, bottom line.
Q. Despite your play tonight, this series could easily be over. Why should anyone think Game 5 will be much different from the first four?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Because we know we can play with this team. We haven't played well yet. We haven't showed it yet. I've been with these guys a long time, and they are not just going to lay down. So we are going to come out in Game 5 and give it all we've got.
Q. How would you assess the veterans' play, particularly down the stretch in the fourth quarter?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I think it was -- I think it was a sloppy fourth quarter for us. We had too many ill-advised shots, we had too many turnovers. Like I said, the fouls went in their favors, and they got to the line early. They shot 19, 20 more free throws than we did.
Q. Can you talk about, not only having to win one, but now you have to win three, and no NBA team has ever done that in this position before, just that challenge that you guys face now?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I mean, it's a big challenge for us. You know, the stage is set. Stage is set. So, you know we just have to go out and want it.
The pressure is on them. They have to close us out.
Q. When you play the kind of game you did tonight and you still lose, how much does that worry you?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It doesn't worry me at all because I know that my teammates can play better. I know that we all can play better. You know, for the fourth game now, me and Kobe are the only ones that's in double figures, so we've got to find a way to get guys more shots. We've just got to keep playing and limit our mistakes.
Q. You had 11 free throws, a great game but only 11 free throws. They had 35 fouls on the Lakers, do you think it's fair?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It's hard to beat a team when they go to the line 20 more times than you do. But we really can't dwell on that now. We still had major opportunities to win the game.
Q. You went through a couple of long stretches where you did not get the ball and you had made several consecutive shots, were you disappointed by that?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'm disappointed because you don't write what you see. I'm disappointed in you.
Q. Were you disappointed in the long stretches?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Of course I was.

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