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MavKikiNYC
03-07-2004, 04:41 PM
INSIDE THE N.B.A.
Yao Standing Tall Against O'Neal
By CHRIS BROUSSARD

Published: March 7, 2004


n the two games before his matchup against Shaquille O'Neal, Yao Ming was outplayed by Seattle's Vitaly Potapenko and produced only 13 points and 4 rebounds against Portland's Theo Ratliff.

Yet against O'Neal, the game's most dominant player, Yao looked like Wilt Chamberlain. Lofting soft jumpers over O'Neal and uncharacteristically banging with him inside, Yao outplayed O'Neal for the second straight time.

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O'Neal's Lakers won, 96-93, thanks to Kobe Bryant's last-minute heroics, but the 33 points and 8 rebounds Yao produced left people stunned.

"I have not seen anybody play anywhere near that successfully against Shaq since Hakeem Olajuwon nine years ago," said the analyst Bill Walton, who called the game for ESPN. "I am staggered by his level of achievement against Shaq. Shaq is such a force, such a power, that he intimidates everyone else and basically just makes them quit. Shaq literally scares everybody away, yet he inspires Yao Ming to unparalleled heights.

"If Yao Ming played against everybody the way he plays against Shaq, the Houston Rockets would be in first place and Yao Ming would be the most valuable player in the N.B.A."

It is not as if the 7-foot-6 Yao shut O'Neal down. First, they were not always matched against each other. Second, O'Neal had 28 points and 7 rebounds.

But it has been nearly a decade since a center came close to equaling O'Neal one on one, let alone outscoring and outrebounding him. On Feb. 11, Yao outscored O'Neal, 29-24, and outrebounded him, 11-9, to lead the Rockets to a 102-87 rout of the Lakers.

In their three games this season, Yao is averaging 26.7 points and 9 rebounds compared with O'Neal's 24.7 points and 8.7 rebounds. Most important, the Rockets have won two of the three meetings.

Perhaps wisely, Yao is humble about his success against O'Neal.

"I think every other player is in Shaq's shadow," said Yao, whose Rockets have won three of the five career games in which he has faced O'Neal. "For me, I think the most important thing is experience. Having accumulated experience playing against him has helped."

Wally Walker, Seattle's president, is amazed at Yao, especially considering that Yao has averaged only 16 points and 6.7 rebounds against the Sonics' pedestrian duo of Potapenko and Jerome James.

"He plays with great confidence against Shaq," Walker said. "Clearly his focus is great, because when I watch him against Shaq, all he does is make all of his shots. I don't know him, but you wonder where he gets it from."

It is not yet time, though, to put Yao, who is averaging 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds, ahead of O'Neal, or even in his class. Yao does not always bring the same tenacity against lesser opponents. Until he can dominate the way O'Neal does every time he takes the floor, he will still be eating the Diesel's dust.

NYCdog
03-07-2004, 08:33 PM
I feel the reason why Yao isnt dominating isnt because of his guard's play........

Its because of him.

More specifically, his motivation....... or in some cases, lack thereof.

He admitted after the much heralded Yao?Shaq 5 matchup in which he outscored Shq for the first time, that one of the reason's why he played so well against Shaq is becuse he is always highly motivated to play against Shaq. He also admitted he isnt as motivated to play other teams as he is to play Shaq or play in the playoffs.

When he's been motivated to play, we have seen the results against Shaq.

Imagine if he were always this motivated to play every game against every team.

He would then dominate like Shaq.

I cant to see how motivated he will be come playoff time, not to mention the results and the big impact it could possibly have in the playoffs in general.

Shaq Attack2
03-08-2004, 12:29 AM
Yeah, last two times out Yao is playing Shaq to standstill. Very impressive. We'll see if he can keep it up in the playoffs, should be great fun to watch Yao's first playoff game.

kingrex
03-08-2004, 10:49 AM
I remember when Olajuwon dominated a young Shaquille O'Neil. Yao is just in his second year. Inconsistency is to be expected, especially from an international player not used to the NBA-style of play. He is already starting to get it, and I fear that he will be even more dominant force next year.

stevie_franchise3
03-08-2004, 11:46 AM
Once he learns to dominate against double and triple team then watch out. He is already a great shooter. How will someone be able to stop him. He can also hit FTS. Has the longest current streak right now at 30.

WayOutWest
03-08-2004, 06:14 PM
I don't know when Dream "dominated" Shaq, I watched the finals when the Magic were swept by the Rockets, that was a battle and the Rockets dominated the Magic but nobody, not even Dream dominated Shaq. The only time I've seen Shaq dominated is against the Spurs and Portland, and that took two players from the Spurs and 4 players from the Blazers.

IMO the best anyone has "dominated" Shaq defensively is Vlade two years ago. He didn't stop Shaq but he flooped so much and got so many offensive fouls called on him that Vlade got into Shaq's head. Shaq was very tentative on offense, Shaq began flopping on defense and worst of all Shaq started crying to the media about "play me like a man!". I've never seen anyone get to Shaq's head like that, not even Dream.

kingrex
03-09-2004, 02:55 PM
Originally posted by: WayOutWest
I don't know when Dream "dominated" Shaq, I watched the finals when the Magic were swept by the Rockets, that was a battle and the Rockets dominated the Magic but nobody, not even Dream dominated Shaq. The only time I've seen Shaq dominated is against the Spurs and Portland, and that took two players from the Spurs and 4 players from the Blazers.

IMO the best anyone has "dominated" Shaq defensively is Vlade two years ago. He didn't stop Shaq but he flooped so much and got so many offensive fouls called on him that Vlade got into Shaq's head. Shaq was very tentative on offense, Shaq began flopping on defense and worst of all Shaq started crying to the media about "play me like a man!". I've never seen anyone get to Shaq's head like that, not even Dream.

Even Shaq admitted after that series against the Rockets that he would never allow another center to dominate him that way. I believe that was a factor in his decision to move "way out west".

I, too rembember that series, and no way Vlade did better than the Dream against Shaq. Shaq is much stronger and more intelligent player than the Orlando Magic version, and has NOT been dominated since that series against the Dream, just like he promised.

stevie_franchise3
03-09-2004, 03:38 PM
Oh believe me, Hakeem DOMINATED Shaq. Even Shaq said so himself, so there is no disputing this.

http://espn.go.com/page2/s/list/readers/nbafinals/performance.html
Scroll down to #9


9. Hakeem Olajuwon, 1995 (10 letters)
Hakeem Olajuwon dominated Shaquille O'Neal and the Orlando Magic in the Rockets' four-game sweep in 1995.

The whipping seems to have stuck with O'Neal, who had this to say in response to complaints made by the Portland Trailblazers about officiating in last year's playoffs:


If I can't beat you, I'll be a man and say I can't beat you. I'm not going to [cry about it] ... I'm the first guy to say that somebody is better than me. I was the first guy to say Hakeem Olajuwon beat me in the [1995] NBA finals. He killed me. He dominated me. I didn't go, 'Oh, he's traveling. They had experience. Wah-wah-wah.' I'm a man. Hakeem Olajuwon dusted my butt."

WayOutWest
03-09-2004, 06:31 PM
Shaq has always respected Dream, but if you watched the series and looked at the numbers Dream did not dominate him, he outplayed him no doubt but it was Shaq's team mates that let him down and allowed Houston to skate. Anybody remember the 4 consequtive FT's missed by Anderson in game 1? That game was in the bag and Anderson gave it away, the Magic never recovered.

Shaq being humble about Dream is just the flip side of him being in denial about Yao. Funny that "some" people only pay attention to one side of the coin when it suits their purpose. Shaq has always admired Dream, Stockton and Malone. Even when Malone said he wasn't "impressed" by Shaq, Shaq's response was only "that's ok, he's the man now but I'll be the man soon." When asked if Stockton and Malone's careers where failures if they didn't win a ring, Shaq said anyone who said that would get punched in the mouth.

It's just the flip side, watch the tapes and look at the numbers, Dream was far from dominant over Shaq.