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June 15, 2006

Shaquille O'Neal


Q. It's best two-out-of-three now. Your feelings on what Game 5 is and how important?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It's a very important game for both teams. You know, we just want to, you know, keep doing what we've been doing at home. You know, tonight was I think our, you know, first complete game, so hopefully we can continue to play this well and hopefully we can keep it going.

Q. From your college career to the pros, USA Basketball to now, how do you compare Coach Riley to some of the other coaches you played for in the past?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: He's been great ever since he came to my house in Orlando, we had a couple conversations. He told me what he was all about. I told him what I was all about. I knew he was going to be a perfect fit.
You know, he's a straight-up guy, and I think he's straight-up because he's upstairs and downstairs. What I mean by that, is he's the general manager, president and the head coach, so he doesn't have to, you know, smooth anything over when there's problems. You know, he always handles the problems and fixes all the problems.

Q. At what point in the course of the game did you know that you guys are going to win it?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Well, I knew at the beginning of the game, I told my guys that we played a lot of games this season where we needed to win, and this was a game that we really, really needed to win. The guys came out and played well. The bench played well. You know, it was the best our bench had played all series.
You know, we just have to do the same thing, and it's a different series right now.

Q. Jerry Stackhouse was just in here, he said it was just a hard foul. What was your impression of it?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: My impression was my daughters tackle me harder when I come home. (Laughter) You know, I'm from -- I'm one of the last players of the old school, and you know, you just have to take a hard foul like that and keep on moving.
It actually felt pretty good to get hit like that. Thank you, Jerry. Appreciate it.

Q. Coach Riley was just praising your ability to break down the double team, pass out of it. What were you seeing out there better tonight or doing differently tonight?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: You know, my guys are cutting to the basket and they are spotting up, and they were really, really looking for me tonight, especially Gary. I was trying to, you know, not really force shots and keep hitting the open man. Tonight it paid off and our bench really, really played well.

Q. What about that no-look pass to Posey?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I have that in my game.

Q. What you finally found in the offensive groove, do you believe that was one of the main reasons that you guys had a dominating performance today?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No, we're just playing good team ball. You know, the fans have been really, really great. Everybody's moving the ball. Everybody's really, really playing unselfish. You know, Dwyane had another fabulous game. You know, the other night, you know, we willed our way to a win and we got a little bit of momentum. We just want to keep it going.

Q. Can you talk about your interior defense, how well you guys play that, and forcing them to take a lot of threes that they missed?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: You know, we just want to try to keep them off the paint. They are very, very dangerous team. You really can't give them both. You can't give them inside and outside. They really miss a lot of shots and they are probably going to come really, really hard on Sunday. And we have to be prepared. And we will be.

Q. Just two things. One, when you got a tech, you're still on the court and you were smiling a lot --
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: You know, that was the first time in history that I was polite and I got a tech. I was just trying to ask a question and he gave me a tech.

Q. The second thing, after Game 2, it seems like you're doing everything else to beat them, you're running out, double-teaming on guards, Nowitzki, are you taking it on yourself to do everything else besides scoring at this point?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: You know, whenever my team doesn't do well, I take it on upon myself -- I always say to myself, "I could have done more." I am programmed to do more, no matter what. Win or lose, I am programmed to do more. That's because I am the other son of Jor-el, Superman. (Laughter).

End of FastScripts...

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