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June 14, 2004

Shaquille O'Neal


Q. You played almost 48 minutes last night, will fatigue be a factor tomorrow night?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Probably not. There's no time to be tired tomorrow. Tomorrow is a game that we must win tomorrow, plain and simple.
First time I've ever seen you in shorts. It's funny. That's funny. (Laughter).
Q. Phil Jackson said that they cannot expect you to score 50 points, but do you expect you'll have to score 50 points if your teammates are cold from the field?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I just think we need to get two other people in double figures, that's the first time in a long time. I think four games now, Kobe and myself have been the only ones in double figures. So we just have to maybe get somebody else involved.
Q. From watching the games from the outside, it seems like it's very simple that they just need to get the ball to you more, is that over simplifying things and why are they going away from that?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'm not sure. You know, we've been playing a certain style all year, sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. We could play either style. But when I'm not doubled like that, I really expect to get the ball a lot, especially when I'm shooting 65, 68 percent from the field. I really expect to get it a lot. It is simple. And if you don't stick to simplicity, you'll die a horrible death.
Q. A couple of times last night, they threw the ball right at the start of the shot clock, Gary would take the ball at halfcourt and throw it right into the post and you got a basket. Is there a simple answer as to why they don't do that more?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'm not sure. I don't know. Everyone knows I want it, I would like to get it. I don't know. Our problem here now, we're not really playing well and they are playing a whole lot better than we are, getting to the line, playing more aggressive, hitting more shots and tomorrow is a game we have to step up.
Q. I was wondering if you've had a chance to talk to T-Mac about the decision that the Magic are trying to get him to make and what advice would you give him?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I talk to him all the time. I really can't tell you what we talk about, but I just tell him to take it easy and just sit back and see how things are going to go. T-Mac is a very emotional guy. He has a lot on his shoulders and sometimes he speaks out of emotion. But I always just tell him from experience just to sit back and relax and whatever happens, happens.
Q. With as active as you were last night, did you get frustrated when it got in the period of the game where the ball just didn't come to you?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I always get frustrated because if this -- because if this doesn't go right with me being captain of the ship, I'll probably get most of the blame and I accept that.
But, in order for it to go down like that, I would like to have it every time. But we still just need to continue to play team ball. Everybody has to step up and everybody has to want it tomorrow, plain and simple, we've got to win tomorrow. If not, then I won't have to watch this man wear those ugly suits again for a while. Got to win tomorrow. If we win tomorrow, are you going to wear a nice, classy suit and cut your hair? Bald head? Are you scared? You scared to make that bet? (Laughter).
Q. Does Kobe's confidence in himself sometimes become a detriment to himself and to the team and after you have been together so long, do you think at this stage he would have gone beyond that and realized that sometimes it hurts this team that not getting the ball to you and not looking to you as a primary option?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: That's sort of a trick question and I don't have a trick answer. Next question, please.
You're not going to get me with that question today, buddy. (Laughter).
Q. Still got to ask it.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'm a veteran at this, buddy. Can't get that with me, buddy, not today.
Q. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, are you guys going to be happy just to get the heck out of Michigan?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We're not looking forward regardless of what happens. We need to win. The stuff that's gone on here really didn't bother me it. Really don't bother me. It's actually how it was supposed to go. Fans are supposed to be into the city and they are supposed to stay rowdy and supposed to stand in front of the hotel and make noise and all that stuff. But again, this is nothing we've ever seen before. It was much worse in Philadelphia. This was nothing compared to what Philadelphia was trying to do to us, and Jersey. So doesn't matter to me.
Q. Kobe said this morning that he knows the Lakers are going to win on Tuesday. He basically guaranteed it, what do you think of that?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I feel that way, too. Got to. And that's how you've got to think. That's how you've got to think all day and that's how I'm thinking all day, got to win.
And I'm going to cut your hair myself.

End of FastScripts...

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