PDA

View Full Version : ...Diesel appeared to be running on ethanol...


dirt_dobber
01-25-2007, 12:18 PM
BERARDINO: O'Neal not even close to old self

Published January 25, 2007
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-spmikebspec25jan25,0,1309713.column?coll=sfla-sports-front

INDIANAPOLIS He's ba-aaaack.

Uh, check that. Used a few too many "A's" there. Got a little carried away.

Shaquille O'Neal returned to the Heat lineup Wednesday night after a 37-game absence. He even did some good things in what devolved into a 96-94 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse.

But there was very little about his reappearance that was even remotely ominous for future Heat opponents.

"Real rusty," was Shaq's honest self-assessment. "I was still kind of tentative."

Oh, it's a good sign he was able to come off the bench and play 14 minutes behind Alonzo Mourning. There will be no Heat repeat without significant playoff contributions from the man who so loathes the regular season.

And it's great to have the world's biggest kid back smiling, cracking jokes and reminding teammates this is a game they play for a living. Before entering with 4:49 left in the first quarter, he even shook hands with an elderly Pacers employee at the scorer's table.

It's also nice of Shaq to start giving the Heat a return on its $243,902.43 per-game investment. We're talking $9 million in salary during that lengthy absence.

But after 77 days to rest and rehab his surgically repaired left knee, it's going to take time for him to regain his timing and rhythm, not to mention his balance.

Jermaine O'Neal sent him sprawling to the deck with a blocked shot in the first half. Troy Murphy sent him stumbling with a clean strip under the basket. Jeff Foster caused a simple entry pass from James Posey to float over Shaq's outstretched hand.

And somebody named Ike Diogu blew past him on the baseline, forcing Shaq into a reaching foul. At that awkward moment, Shaq looked like he'd have trouble guarding Ike Turner, much less Diogu.

Too often this Diesel appeared to be running on ethanol.

That's not to say there weren't some uplifting moments as well. Shaq did grab five rebounds, two of which led to his only field goals on a five-point night. He also blocked a shot and altered a few others.

He ran the floor fairly well, got position on the low blocks and set some strong screens.

But if you were expecting an immediate return to dominance from one of the NBA's all-time greats, it wasn't happening on this night. It might not happen for several more weeks, if not months.

You just don't go from zero to 60 in a blink when you weigh three bills and change. You just don't make up for 21/2 months on the sidelines on a single night, not at age 34.

No one has to explain this to O'Neal. That's one reason he wanted to make absolutely sure he was ready before returning.

"I just have to take my time," O'Neal said. "The rust will wear off, and I will get more minutes, and I'll get my rhythm back with the guys."

The fact he sat for the last 151/2 minutes, including overtime, should tell you he's still not there.

Teammate Jason Kapono said you "can't expect too much out of him" after such a long layoff, but he also expressed hope the improvement curve would be steep.

The humor curve certainly was. O'Neal was in a playful pregame mood in the locker room.

He showed off the two Mandarin phrases he learned from former Heat teammate Wang Zhi-Zhi -- "Hello" and "How are you?" -- for a Chinese reporter.

Fumbling with his socks, he joked he'd missed so much time he'd forgotten how to perform that simple task. And he dramatically sought out Mourning for some good-natured ribbing.

"Just what I envisioned when I came to Miami," O'Neal said with a grin. "Backing up my man Zo."

Then the two warriors embraced as Shaq gave Mourning a highly unwanted peck on the cheek.

Welcome back, Shaq, even if it's with just one "A."

Mike Berardino can be reached at mberardino@sun-sentinel.com.

Dirkadirkastan
01-25-2007, 03:33 PM
A "Miami repeat" will happen when Miami's NBA team folds, just like its WNBA team did in 2002.

dirno2000
01-25-2007, 04:07 PM
A "Miami repeat" will happen when Miami's NBA team folds, just like its WNBA team did in 2002.

How do you know this?

Dirkadirkastan
01-25-2007, 04:51 PM
How do you know this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Sol

bernardos70
01-25-2007, 05:34 PM
I don't care if you looked it up on wiki, I'm gonna have to pull your man card for that one.

DarenG
01-25-2007, 05:40 PM
Miami will make a run. Even if they get the 8th seed, they will be favored.

dirno2000
01-25-2007, 06:16 PM
I don't care if you looked it up on wiki, I'm gonna have to pull your man card for that one.

That's what I'm saying. I'm not doubting that what you're saying is true, I'm just wondering why you had that piece of information in your mind at all? :)

V2M
01-25-2007, 06:37 PM
Miami will make a run. Even if they get the 8th seed, they will be favored.

True... Miami will be (and should be!) favored to come out of the East if they make the playoffs.

Dirkadirkastan
01-25-2007, 11:54 PM
Jesus, a cheap joke and everyone's harping on me like I'm some sort of WNBA-watching fruitcake.

If you must know, I knew it because I was looking something up on Wikipedia about the Mavs or something and ended up comparing the AAC and the American Airlines Arena in Miami. I don't remember why I was doing that, but the blurb about the WNBA team is at the top of the AAA one.

mqywaaah
01-26-2007, 04:31 AM
True... Miami will be (and should be!) favored to come out of the East if they make the playoffs.

True. They should be favored. And when they fail, and believe me they will fail, us Mav fans will have the last laugh. :D

June cant come sooner. Ooh, the anticipation is killing me! Lost of good things to look forward to. Miami's fall from grace is one of em. :p

rakesh.s
01-26-2007, 08:33 PM
miami's gonna come out of the east...who else is going to make it??

detroit?? - flip is flipping all their defensive guys for offensive players

washington? - with arenas jacking up 3s from 30 feet..yeah right

orlando? - too much inexperience and grant hill doesn't have anything except a midrange game

chicago? - still a jump shooting team that might stretch a series out, but they're not going anywhere..wallace has made zero difference. They could've signed reggie evans for 1/3 of wallace's salary and still gotten the same production.

cleveland? - boring, hughes sucks and is overpaid, ilgauskas is slow and done..lebron is gonna get his points and might win one or two games in a series, but they're not going anywhere without a bench or point guard (paging andre miller).

dirno2000
01-26-2007, 09:32 PM
Dwayne Wade is in rare form tonight...21FTA's through 3 quarters.

meanwhile Jamaal Crawford is going for 50. He's 8-8 from deep.

dude1394
01-26-2007, 10:37 PM
Diva....diva.....diva....diva....

Diva's going to have a tough time when they start calling him for the flop.

dirno2000
01-26-2007, 10:42 PM
Looks like he got pulled early. I was hoping he'd go for 30.

dude1394
01-26-2007, 11:49 PM
Diva met another milestone. Got more FTA's than the entire Knicks team!

Bravo diva, bravo..

dirno2000
01-27-2007, 10:40 PM
Looks like Shaq is sitting out tonight.

Tokey41
01-27-2007, 10:54 PM
I wonder if that fat bastard is going to earn the rest of his salary or not. I can't believe he was voted in the all star game after missing the entire season, do these people who vote even watch the NBA?

I'm really not bitter to Shaq (although he IS clearly a fat bastard), I just think it's a shame Dwight has put up such great numbers only to be upstaged by some big name thats played like what... six games? Who really wants to watch Shaq play anymore? He's not on that all star level, his fall from grace came hard and I was under the impression everyone watching basketball was aware of that fact.

Murphy3
01-27-2007, 11:52 PM
For Miami, he has already earned his salary.

DarenG
01-27-2007, 11:59 PM
I wonder if that fat bastard is going to earn the rest of his salary or not. I can't believe he was voted in the all star game after missing the entire season, do these people who vote even watch the NBA?

I'm really not bitter to Shaq (although he IS clearly a fat bastard), I just think it's a shame Dwight has put up such great numbers only to be upstaged by some big name thats played like what... six games? Who really wants to watch Shaq play anymore? He's not on that all star level, his fall from grace came hard and I was under the impression everyone watching basketball was aware of that fact.

The All-star voting is so screwed up. The fans should only count for a percentage. Also, I think everyone acknowledged that Shaq was not playing at an All-Star level last year. However, he is just good enough to cause havoc when he's down low. He will be the same this year and the Heat will come out of the East again.