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May 29, 2006

Shaquille O'Neal


Q. Talk about how important this victory was.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, we knew we had to take care of our own, we knew that they were going to come very aggressive today and play the grimy ball that they said they were going to play. I feel we played pretty good. We got kind of razzled when they got into the zone, but we snapped out of it. Our fans kept us going, and our guys played well. Our guys came off the bench and played well, Posey played good, G.P. played good, and it was an all-around team effort. We just did what we were supposed to do. Now we just have to try to go up there and close it up.
Q. We're all dying to hear about the one play on the block on the coast-to-coast.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I have that in my game (laughter). I used to do that when I was a youngster. I'm not a spring chicken anymore.
Q. Dwyane said he hadn't seen that since Orlando.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, I've been holding back. But it was an opportunity for me to just get the crowd going and get the fans going. I just did what I do best.
Q. How good did it feel for you to do that?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I was born doing that, so I'm kind of used to it. I'm going to be doing that when I'm 60.
Q. No dunk?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No dunk, I just wanted to finger roll it.
Q. What do you call that when you were running down the court after you completed that?
Q. "G" standing for what, "gangster"?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No, I'm not a gangster.
Q. "Good looking"?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yes. You can say it stands for that.
Q. Talk about holding it in the third quarter at the free throw line as it was very grimy then?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah. Like I said, it was a very grimy game. We got kind of razzled when they got into the zone. But we snapped out of it. The fans did an unbelievable job of staying involved and staying loud, and we played pretty good defense out there.
Q. The shooters really made shots tonight.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, they were doubling Dwyane, and Dwyane was doing an excellent job of helping his teammates, getting out the ball, and guys were hitting the shots. Posey hit a big three, G.P. hit a big three, and like I said, it was a good all-around team effort.
Q. After Game 3, Walker said Shaq is like forever young right now. In the playoffs right now, how young do you feel and why?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I feel pretty young. This is like the first time I haven't had knick-knack injury, so I'm feeling pretty good. It was a different role for me playing with the great Dwyane Wade, but it's a role that I've accepted, and Dwyane is a great player. It would be foolish to have me shoot 40 times and let him shoot ten shots. Dwyane is going to do the bulk of the shots, I'm going to get the second amount, and we all accept that and roll with that. My numbers are going to be different, but it's all about winning.
Q. Some of the shots that he makes like that reverse layup where he was falling, do you say "wow" sometimes?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No. I mean, he's a great player. He still has a lot of room for improvement, and it's my job to make him the best player to ever play the game before I leave. I think I have that ability to do that, and I think he has the ability to become that.
Q. Do you feel like sometimes you have to try to show people, hey, I can go back to back-to-back, these games, as far as proving to people that you can?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Yeah, I mean, if I get the opportunity to do what I do, I'm going to do that. I'm much older but I'm much smarter. When teams don't double me, I'm just going to high percentage shoot. When they're doubling and tripling, I'm going to be looking for my teammates. It's a better game when everybody is involved.
Q. Talk about your aggressiveness or their over-aggressiveness.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We were just moving the ball, staying aggressive, playing with a higher energy. We knew how they were going to come out, and we were ready for that. We stepped up to the challenge and played our game today.
Q. Especially in this series they have been going more and more to you. In Game 2 you worked so hard and then lost, and you guys came down here and right from the first possession they were looking for you more.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: We're an inside-out team, especially if the team is not going to double, I always tell the guys to look for me. Sometimes we get cute and shoot a lot of jumpers, but most of the time when we play like that, it's not a good outcome. We just have to stick to the script, inside-out.
Q. After Game 3 Pat said the team feeds off your energy. Do you think that was true tonight?
Q. Is it something that's just contagious, that they look at you as the leader?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: When you feed the big dog, he does whatever you tell him to do (laughter).
Q. How difficult is it to win a fourth game in any series?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: It's very difficult, but we just have to be focused. We've just got to play our game. It's a great win today, but we don't want to get too high and mighty. The job is not done yet, so we just want to stay focused, come in tomorrow, look at some film and practice, make adjustments. We know they're a great team when their backs are against the wall, so we're going to have our hands full, but if we do what we're supposed to do, we'll be fine.
Q. You guys have closed out well this postseason. Obviously last season, as well, was a great series. But when it comes down to it, for lack of a better phrase, is it nice to have a couple of those let-downs to tell you what not to do?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Like I said, we don't want to get too high and mighty. We still have to make some adjustments. They're still the best team in the east, and they play great at home, and their fans are going to be in the game, and we just have to be ready. We're going to have our hands full, so we almost have to play a damn near perfect game.
Q. Can you talk about Pat's motivational techniques and about the bowl in the middle of the room? Can you talk about how much fun it is to see Pat unveil his motivational techniques before the game?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Are you seeing things? Where's the bowl? I don't know what you're talking about, sorry.
Q. The one with the logo in the middle of the locker room. How good is Pat at it?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Pat is a great speaker, he's a great motivator and has a great resume, but he does an unbelievable job, and that's why he's one of the best to ever do it. I have no idea what you're talking about, a bowl.
Q. You're not drinking the Kool-Aid?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: No, I don't drink Kool-Aid. I drink Propel.
Q. The last series you brought up the Lakers losing to the Suns, the Red Sox motivation. What do you think is going to come up this time?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I don't know. He's great. He's a thinker. He has a lot of quotes in his head. We know what we have to do, and like I said, we have to play a damn near perfect game on Wednesday because we know we're going to have our hands full.
Q. What do you see from Dwyane?
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: I always tell him just do his thing. Early when they were doing the little travel, I just told him get off the ball and come to me and see what all the other guys want to do in the third and fourth when we force him to back off that track, then you do what you do. He's great because he listens, he's very unselfish, and he does it like Magic Johnson used to do it, very unselfishly, but still puts up his numbers.

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