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May 27, 2006

Shaquille O'Neal


Q. You seemed more determined than ever to dominate the paint tonight.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, Game 2 I felt we went away from what we usually do, and today I just told the guys, bring it to me, get me going, keep me going, and they did. I was aggressive and I was getting the ball where I wanted it to go, and I just tried to do what I do.
Q. The dunks were there for you tonight. Tell me why.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Flash does a great job of getting to the hole. If they don't help, he's going to score; if they do help, I'll be right there. We just have to keep playing aggressive and keep playing our game. We're a power team, and that's how we should play every night.
Q. (Inaudible).
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We just hit sort of a dry spot. It wasn't anything that they really did, it was just -- a lot of turnovers. Every time we play this team, we always put ourselves in trouble like that. We snapped out of it, and Dwyane hit some shots, and a couple guys hit some big free throws, and we just snapped out of it.
Q. So you wanted to step up to the challenge when they started the Hack-a-Shaq?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I mean, I've been there before; it was nothing new to me for us to move on to the next level. I have to hit them, and I will.
Q. Are you surprised how few plays they ran for Tayshaun tonight?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I don't think they've been running plays for him at all. He's just an aggressive player, he's a great rebounder, he's a great slasher, he's a great player. Tonight we just wanted to focus on what we had to do, just get the ball on the side and run it a little bit more and just play hard.
Q. Were you a little bit annoyed you didn't get the ball more in the paint?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, very. I wasn't angry, it was just that we need to stick to our game plan. We're a power team, and we've got to go inside out. We've got to go inside when they're doubled and we kick it back out and shoot rather than just shooting jumpers.
Tonight we got back to our game, and we got this one and we know it's going to be tough on Monday, so we've got to do everything right on Monday.
Q. Talk about how huge Monday looms now?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Monday is a big game for both teams, a real big game for us. We've just got to continue to play well. Fans have been great. They're there for us. When we got in the dead spot, they got loud all of a sudden and just took us out of that. We're going to be ready.
Q. Did he say anything to you guys about the lack of effort after the game tonight?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No. Tonight was a little bit better effort. We knew that this was an important game, but Monday is a game that we must also play well.
Q. Was there anything different for you early? You got to the offensive board?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I've just got to get it, got to get it.
Q. What's your mindset as far as sitting the last four and a half in the fourth quarter?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Nothing. Both coaches were playing numbers, playing percentages, and that was fine with me, as long as we win and as long as it was done right. I don't run away from that. They want to foul and play those games, I just have to step up and hit them, and most of the time I will. I'm not worried about that.
Q. The last play in the first half, that just kind of shows how much fun you have with Dwyane. Kind of describe what you were feeling on that play.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: He's a great player, great surface player. We have that connection, and when he goes past these guys and my man steps up, I'll be there. It's a very, very high percentage play for us. Every now and then I'll try to cram it down real hard and it may go off the back of the rim like it did in Game 2, but we have a very, very high percentage on that play.
Q. What's the best way to describe how you feel getting halfway there?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We don't want to get too high. We know this was a good game for us, and Monday is going to be an even bigger game, we just have to step up to the challenge on Monday.
Q. Could you see it when you looked in their eyes during the game that maybe they were a little frustrated?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We just worry about what we have to do over here. We know what we have to do. Pat Riley does a great job of preparing us. He gives us DVDs of all the mistakes we make on DVD as well as the good stuff, so guys are going home and getting rest and watching it.
We know about this team, so we just have to go out and, like I said, play with a lot of energy and a lot of effort, and when we do that, the outcome has been crisp.
Q. It's been going Hack-a-Shaq. Do you think it's fair to go Hack-a-Ben?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I don't worry about that. Their percentages are a little bit worse, but they want to keep playing that game, we'll be fine.
Q. Was there a little extra joy when you knocked down those free throws?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, it makes me kind of upset that I missed the first two, but I got the rebound back and I had to turn on my concentration. I think I would have hit all of them if Pat would have let me out there.

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