May 30, 2005
DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Practice Day
Q. Talk a little bit about the confidence of the team after gutting it out last night and beating the Pistons.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I thought we played a good, solid game, played pretty good defense, played excellent team ball and usually when we play that way, we always win. I thought that's what we did last night. Guys played great.
Q. You really made a difference, too, Shaq. You hit all of yours; talk about that and the difference it made in the game from your perspective.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Well, you know, I was missing my jump hooks and my running hooks in the post, so I don't want to be over. I'll just concentrate a little harder. If we can get this game, it will give us a big confidence boost, and we just have to try to get this one on Tuesday.
Q. What do you have to do for this team to win tomorrow night?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We just have to pretty much play the same way, keep our composure, keep playing team ball, keep taking the opportune shots and keep playing together.
Q. Do you feel like you guys were able to frustrate them and make them lose their composure to a certain extent?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We just came in and played good, solid basketball. We don't really get into all that stuff. We know what we have to do as a unit, and I think we went out there last night and did that pretty effectively.
Q. They're going to be pretty desperate not wanting to go to Miami 3-1. Do you guys have to try to match that intensity or try to create it yourselves even though it's not really there?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: They're the champs and they're not just going to give up; they're going to be coming with everything they've got. We just have to match that and continue to do what we do, and if we do that, we should be okay.
Q. What do you think about their history of coming back from behind in series several times in the last couple years?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I don't know about their history. You know, like I keep saying, we know what we have to do as a unit. We'll just focus on that. We focus on that, we talk about that and we just try to go out and perform and do it. We don't really worry about what they're doing, we don't really worry about what the crowd is doing, we've just going to go out and do what we've going to do.
Q. How nice is it to just be able to focus on basketball with this team? Over there they're dealing with some off-the-court issues with their coach going to Cleveland or somewhere else, to just be able to focus on basketball?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It's been a pretty good year for me. It's been a drama-less year for me. I'm not used to that coming from where I come from. It's fun and it's quiet, and we intend to keep it that way.
Q. What do you think about Dwyane? He's playing really well.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: He's the best player in the playoffs this year, great guy, listens, performs very well, which I think makes him one of the best players ever to play the game.
Q. People have talked about Pistons playing the right way. What do you show as far as your play? Do you think that you've redefined playing the right way?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I know the guys have been playing together all year, have been very unselfish all year. We don't have people on this team with personal agendas. We don't have people on this game who want to be scorers or want to be -- we just run our plays, take the open shot, take the opportune shot, and we play good, clean basketball. When we don't, we find ourselves getting in trouble, but when we do, we find ourselves hard to beat.
Q. What will you do today?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'll just go to the hotel and get some rest. I should be all right for tomorrow.
Q. How is the thigh affecting your ability to shoot free throws?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: The thigh bone is not connected to the free throw ball (laughter).
You know, I just really want to do this game and the guys really want to do this game, so I just have to turn my concentration on that.
Q. Are you focusing on that when you get the ball?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'm just trying to do what I do and take the opportune shot, try to get close to the basket and take the opportune shot. I know I can shoot 50, 60 percent down there. I've just got to try to keep taking the opportune shot.
Q. You put a lot of pressure on the officials to make calls with the way you played; you had a lot of calls last night, a lot of free throws both ways.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Do I? A little bit. Basketball is a game of rhythm, a game of reaction, so if you want to take one of my moves away, I just try to beat you to it. Otherwise it's the foul or you've got to play great defense.
Q. Are you concerned with your injury?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'll be okay. I've just got to pace myself and take my time. I'm sure I'll be okay.
Q. Are you amazed with the way Dwyane Wade has been able to play the last couple of games?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Have I been amazed? The answer is yes. Did I know he could get to this level? The answer is yes, and I think it's my job to even take him to the next level. That's what I came here to do. He's a great young man, he's a listener, and when we're done playing, his name will be remembered as one of the greats.
End of FastScripts...