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June 14, 2006

Shaquille O'Neal

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. Could you talk about Dwyane Wade's game in comparison to some of the other great games you've seen from some of the other guys you've played with or against?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: He had a fabulous game. Who is that? That's Dan Patrick? Dan Patrick, shut the hell up. (Laughter).
No, he had a fabulous game. He moved the ball very well, looked for his guys. I fell back on his knee, his knee was kind of twisted. You know, he's just fabulous. It's really kind of hard to compare, but he's a great one, he really; a great one. And he's so young, and he has a lot of room to improve. It's going to be fun to watch him.

Q. You were on that Laker team that came from 17 down against Portland but that Raleigh started a little bit later. Can you compare the two?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It's kind of different. We were making a lot of silly mistakes, a lot of turnovers and not really getting back on defense. I think with like six, seven minutes left, Coach told us to really, really buckle down and we did. We ran a lot of plays. Dwyane had the ball most of the time. Udonis made a couple plays, Gary hit a big shot. No, it was a good comeback for us.

Q. For the last couple games, Pat has talked about and everybody has talked about the stuff that you've seen on film that you guys have not been doing right and I guess the last thing he talked about was how the sinks have been horrendous and that's why they are getting offensive rebounds and put-backs. Given how many things you guys have done wrong it seems like, are you even surprised it's 2-1 and how much room for improvement is there if you just start doing things that you normally do?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I think there's a lot of room for improvement. We just have to, you know, just take one game at a time and hopefully tomorrow we can play our first good game.
You know, Game 1, we started out good, just went bad. Game 2 was a horrible game. Yesterday's game was an okay game and we pulled it out. I think if we can get one good game, then we'll be fine.

Q. In your experience in seven-game series, does one game flow into the next game, or is each game distinct and separate from the one that preceded it and the one that follows it?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I think it can flow into the next game. Especially when you're talking about momentum. You know, especially when you're at home.
So, you know, we just have to build on what we did, just come out with the same amount of energy and if we do that, then we should be fine.

Q. Could you talk about, you mentioned home, you guys are pretty dominant here, even though you didn't play that well, could you talk about the significance of the fact that you guys are at home and it seems like you feed off the crowd a little bit?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, the crowd has been fabulous all year. You know, they gave us a lot of energy last night. You know we just fed off that, like you said. We just picked it up.
Tomorrow we know they are going to be loud, we know they are going to be into it. You know, we just have to do everything right, feed off their momentum, play with a lot of energy and hopefully we'll be okay.

Q. Pat Riley was just saying that you've never been -- he didn't think you'd ever been scrutinized the way you have been in this series and that you guys had talked about it. What have you noticed about what people are saying about you and how do you feel about it?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I've been scrutinized every day of my life.

Q. To what degree do you feel it's been -- or how do you think it's been happening this week?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: The same. I mean, I'm the type of person that if things don't go well, I will always say to myself that I didn't do enough; it's me.
So, I mean, like I said, I've been scrutinized every day of my life. So, you know, it's nothing new. You know, nothing -- nothing, anything -- anything that a person writes is not going to, you know, make me cry or go drink rat poison or nothing. I'm more harder on myself than any one of you can ever be on me. So I can't read anyway, so it doesn't matter what you write. (Laughter).

Q. And how do you feel about yourself after Game 3?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I did okay. I still feel I can do more. I came out what lot of energy and I feel I made the right plays. But, you know, we all have to do more.

Q. Given the way Dampier played, do you regret the things you said about him?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No, because he's not playing one-on-one and it upsets me that you guys are making it a one-on-one thing with when I'm getting doubled and tripled. So don't ask me dumbass questions like that. Thank you. (Laughter) what? (Laughter).

Q. As a leader on a team and somebody who has won, what are you constantly telling your team about the mental aspect of the game especially after being down 2-0?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We just tell them to stay focused and we just have to try to do everything right, just try to have to play every possession like it's our last possession.
Can I see that court reporter thing? I don't want to get in trouble or nothing. (Laughter).

Q. Dwyane had such a big game last night, they may make some adjustments and put more focus on him, do you think that that could free you up a little more?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I think if they are going to make more adjustments on him, then it's going to free some other guys up. We all have to step up. Antoine has to step up and hit shots, J-Will had a pretty good game yesterday. Udonis has to step up and make shots. We all have to make the plays.
I want to hear from Jackie (MacMullan). I want to hear from you. Yes. I want to hear from Jackie. I'm not worried about what he's talking about. (Laughter).

Q. You know, they are still hurting you in transition baskets, Dirk trailing for that three, what do you have to do to change it and demoralizing is it when he nails one of those?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We just have to find him in transition and we just have to get all our guys back. A lot of times we don't get all our guys back and like you said, he just trails. He's one of the best shooters in the game, he's a fabulous shooter. We just have to find him and limit him.
I want to hear another question from you. (Laughter).

Q. What's your favorites color?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: My favorite color is burgundy. Yeah, burgundy.
I'm wearing burgundy underwear right now, too.

Q. That's more than I wanted to know.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Okay. All right. (Laughter).

Q. Don't really know how to follow that question, but when you and Dwyane are in the gym late nights, are you guys talking to each other? I know you're on opposite ends. What's the atmosphere like?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I'm just, you know, telling him war stories and he's just asking me questions about, you know, what I've been through and what I've seen in 13 years. You know, we're just going through game situations. Actually, you know, it's like two kids out there. I'll just get the ball in the post and act like I'm being doubled and tripled-teamed being like I am the whole series, and I'll just kick it out to him and he'll just shoot it and he'll just make his move.
We're just talking and going through game situations and just having fun.

Q. How does he differ from his practice persona to what he did last night in those final six minutes?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: You know, he's just fabulous. He just took over the game and he just made some plays, made some big plays, made some big shots, fabulous guard.

Q. To follow that up, when you were in Los Angeles, you were sometimes looked upon as an accessory to Kobe's game, how is your encore relationship with Dwyane Wade different?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Well, he's a different type of person, different type of player. When I came here, I just decided to put him in the front and just let him go rather than me trying to be in the front at 34 and 35. He's a guy that he's very humble, very talented, very unselfish. Actually, I tested him out one game. I told him that, "hey, I need you to score 60." He said, "I didn't want to score 60." Most people would have said, okay. (Laughter).

End of FastScripts...

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