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Chron: Shaq says Yao can't play him one-on-one

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets34Legend, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/243053

    Rockets managing to irritate Lakers

    Shaquille O'Neal was livid. The suggestion was made that Yao Ming had outplayed him, and though the Rockets had beaten the Lakers by 15 points, though Yao had outscored him and outrebounded him, he would not allow the presumption that the other team's center played better than he had.

    "Don't say `(Shaq) against Yao' when I got four (defenders) on me," O'Neal demanded. "I hate when y'all ... say that dumb ... , `You against Yao.' I'll always play him one-on-one. I don't think he'll ever play me one-on-one. Ever-ever-never. Never-ever-never."

    The Lakers live with melodrama, and casually brush off the assorted story lines that would send other teams to DEFCOM 4. In the past week alone, O'Neal has criticized general manager Mitch Kupchak (he could do better) and Gary Payton has openly fumed about his role ("The Glove" doesn't fit and might quit the Lakers circus after the season). Kobe Bryant did not play Tuesday in a loss to Atlanta after spending the day in a Colorado courtroom.

    But when the Lakers lost to the Rockets in the final game before the All-Star break, the Rockets seemed to have gotten their attention. Bryant, who had contributed 14 points, three assists, one rebound and no defense that night, has averaged 30 points, 8.3 rebounds and eight assists since. O'Neal seethed that Yao had not taken him on alone, as if there was something dishonorable about the Rockets not letting him pick the defense they should play.

    "He's right. Nobody is going to allow him to match up one-on-one," Yao said, not seeming the least bit guilty. "The rules don't say you can't use more than one person to guard another guy. Why would you open yourself up to a hole like that when you don't have to? Of course he wants to play one-on-one because that's the way they're going to win a game. But we're going to come at him with more people because that's the way we're going to get a victory."

    Asked about O'Neal's antipathy and if anyone would ever play O'Neal with a straight-up, man-to-man, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said: "I don't know. Who cares, really? It's about trying to defend him as well as we can, not just him, but the whole team. I haven't thought about that too much."

    But it did seem telling that a team that routinely handles such seemingly enormous issues as if no more than a missed shot seemed so apoplectic about a game in February. But the past two seasons, the Lakers have brought out the best in the Rockets, and the Rockets have seemed to bring the emotions out of O'Neal.

    When O'Neal was hurt for last season's first meeting with the Rockets, Lakers coach Phil Jackson said it was just as well, because O'Neal was of a mind to break Yao in two. He gets that way sometimes and seemed ready to take his revenge for whatever slights, real or imagined, visited upon him last month.

    The Rockets have won three of their four meetings with the Lakers when O'Neal has played against Yao, including two this season. If the Rockets win tonight, they would have taken their first season series against the Lakers since 1996-97.

    Should the Rockets win tonight and again in Los Angeles on April 1, it would be their first sweep of the Lakers.

    "Those first two meetings (this season) don't mean anything," Rockets forward Maurice Taylor said. "It just means we played well the first two times we played them. We had a good game plan and we executed."

    The matchup with the Lakers does, however, seem to fit the Rockets better than against the other four Western Conference powers. The Rockets' strength has been in keeping the ball out of the lane and helping defensively inside.

    But in many ways, the matchup begins, and often ends, with some variation of O'Neal against Yao.

    Jackson rarely contorts his defense to double-team another team's star, and is especially unlikely to send O'Neal help. Yao, however, has seemed increasingly effective at finding his shots against one defender, even if O'Neal is that one.

    "When he's guarding me, I just have to keep moving and keep running around," Yao said. "It might not be effective to begin with. But at the end of the day, it's going to have a positive effect for our team."

    The Rockets can often be hesitant with the ball when facing double teams and zones. But they attack man-to-mans. While Yao made 10 of 21 shots that night, Steve Francis made nine of 11, Cuttino Mobley seven of 12 and Taylor seven of 11.

    "If guys guard us one-on-one without any gimmick defenses, it's always easy," Taylor said. "With Yao, it's easier if they guard us one-on-one. But we can't just be prepared for that. We can't think they're going to guard us one-on-one, so he's going to have a good game and we're going to have a good game. The Lakers know we're not going to guard Shaq one-on-one all game.

    "We're going to have to play our game. Yao's going to have to play his game. He's going to have to play the way he's been playing against Shaq. We're going to have to give him help.

    "I don't think about him being insulted that we don't play him one-on-one. That's not my problem. Basketball is a team sport. We're supposed to help each other. Just because they don't do it, it doesn't mean we're going to stop doing it."

    But facing O'Neal's indignation is easier after a win. The trick will be winning now that he is indignant.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rockets summary

    Underdog spirit

    As the Rockets headed into a difficult part of the schedule, with games against the Lakers, Timberwolves and Mavericks, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said they better get used to it. So difficult is the remaining schedule, Van Gundy said the Rockets might need to pull a sizable number of upsets just to make the playoffs.

    "We have 23 left. We'll be an underdog in 17 to 18 of those games," he said. "We better play with the urgency, the hunger and the determination of an underdog."

    Asked then if the Rockets could be well-served as a playoff underdog to be a regular-season underdog for six weeks, he said it was too great a leap to assume they will be a playoff team.

    "We're making a huge jump from where we are to the playoffs in 23 games," Van Gundy said. "We're going to have to play exceedingly well to give ourselves a chance to win and find ways to win with the most difficult schedule left. That's why after you look at the whole schedule, you work one practice, one shootaround, one game at a time. We've been outrebounded four in a row, five of seven since the break. We're not defending, and we're not passing.

    "Until we become an all-the-time team, it's hard to win, especially against teams that are really, really special. We'll see. It will be interesting to see where we go."

    As the Lakers turn

    While the Lakers went through another round of distractions that would cause other teams whiplash, the Rockets said they could not imagine how it would be to face those kinds of issues on such a regular basis.

    "That's too much," Rockets forward Maurice Taylor said. "I'd rather worry if when I come in the locker room if they're going to have the right pair of shoes in my locker. I don't want to have to worry about all the things they're worried about."

    Rockets guard/forward Eric Piatkowski, having watched the Lakers deal with their assorted off-court issues through much of his nine seasons with the Clippers, has long marveled at their ability to overcome and sometimes even invite such distractions.

    "I think when you decided to be on the Lakers, you realize it's going to be a circus over there," Piatkowski said. "You're on the Lakers. You're in Los Angeles. You have Shaq (O'Neal) and Kobe (Bryant). Even minus all the problems going on right now, the whole nine years I was there, there was always something going on. So many people are interested. They do an awfully good job putting that stuff on the backburner and focusing on the task at hand usually.

    "You get numb to it, especially living in LA. It's a different world. A lot of those guys love that spotlight. Guys on that team, guys (like Rick Fox) want to be movie stars. Guys (like O'Neal) want to be rappers. They love the spotlight. It doesn't seem to affect them at all.

    "They handle it awfully well. This year, they've had more to handle than in the past."
     
  2. shawn786

    shawn786 Member

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    I think yao handled him self pretty well.
     
  3. feishen

    feishen Member

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    Which side of one-on-one he's talking about? Offense or Defense?
    Basketball is played on both sides. Last game, Shaq couldnt guard Yao either, Yao torched him in the 4th, fouled out!!! I pray that Shaq keeps on playing Yao one-on-on when he guards Yao. Shaq should tell Phil not to send double team or have him front Yao. :D :D :D
     
  4. pchan

    pchan Member

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    Shaq must have forgotten those 3 blks Yao had on him in their first meeting...
     
  5. Tom Archer

    Tom Archer Contributing Member

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    This is the same silly nonsense that Steve was babbling last year when Dallas kept kicking our butts. I hope the Rox come with late double teams to entice and then frustrate the "Big Ego" all night long!
     
  6. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    Shaq is an idiot. The more he opens his mouth the more he looks like an a-hole. And I think the public is tired of it.
     
  7. DreamWeaver

    DreamWeaver Member

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    Even the Lakers fans know that the best way to defeat the Rox is to double team Yao but they think that Shaq has too much pride to allow that to happen.

    Good for us. When Shaq starts to force things inside, he is less likely to pass the ball to Kobe who is the real Rox killer.
     
  8. feishen

    feishen Member

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    Imagine Phil yelling at Shaq courtside
    "#34, hey, put your fat body in front of Yao" :D :D :D
     
  9. YaoFan

    YaoFan Contributing Member

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    If they paly one-on-one, he who fouls out last is the winner.
    :D
     
  10. tslee98

    tslee98 Contributing Member

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    Shaq's right. Absolutely. But nobody can play Shaq one-on-one. I'd like to see Hakeem in his prime going against Shaq in his prime, but Yao is too slow to handle that matchup.

    But, this whole topic is irrelevant because, as Yao points out, he doesn't have to play Shaq one-on-one. Dallas doesn't play Yao one-on-one, either. They play zone and torment the Rockets. That's how the rules are written and that's how the game is played.

    Meanwhile, if Shaq wants to guard Yao one-on-one, then great.
     
  11. Sherlock

    Sherlock Contributing Member

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    This is all hype. And, its worked. Shaq knows what he's doing.

    Shaq vs Yao is the best marquee matchup of the year, outside of the playoffs, with the highest TV ratings.

    Its all good.
     
  12. junkmonkey

    junkmonkey Member

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    Give Yao 1 more year, he will handle Shaq with ease, 2 more years, he will school him big time. 3 more years, if Shaq still can play at that time and they don't become teammates, he is going to cry before the game whenever he is going to play against Yao.
     
  13. Kayman

    Kayman Contributing Member

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    Remember that playoff series against the Sonics in 1996, when they swept us. Remember how Dream used and abused the league the previous three seasons. When we got swept, we were talking, all right, they played zone blah-blah-blah, but the truth is Dream was never the same dominant force afterwards. I think this is where Shaq is now. He still is the best Center in the league, but he cannot toy with opposition as he used to. The sunset has started for Shaq. I think he knows it very well, thats why he's pushing so hard for an extension.
     
  14. nyquil82

    nyquil82 Contributing Member

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    as much as i would like to see another ass whooping, im still feeling the burns from yao getting beat by potepknoptnk and radmonavich. stupid long term memory.
     
  15. TECH

    TECH Contributing Member

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    Interesting what Mo Taylor says.......


    "Those first two meetings (this season) don't mean anything," Rockets forward Maurice Taylor said. "It just means we played well the first two times we played them. We had a good game plan and we executed."

    The matchup with the Lakers does, however, seem to fit the Rockets better than against the other four Western Conference powers. The Rockets' strength has been in keeping the ball out of the lane and helping defensively inside.


    ..........and..............


    "If guys guard us one-on-one without any gimmick defenses, it's always easy," Taylor said. "With Yao, it's easier if they guard us one-on-one. But we can't just be prepared for that. We can't think they're going to guard us one-on-one, so he's going to have a good game and we're going to have a good game. The Lakers know we're not going to guard Shaq one-on-one all game..."


    Where do you draw the line between help defense, and "gimmick" defense? Zone, man to man, hybrid of the two?


    :confused:
     
  16. Uprising

    Uprising Contributing Member

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    Those quotes are pretty old. They are from the last game against Yao IIRC.
     
  17. birat

    birat Member

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    "Don't say `(Shaq) against Yao' when I got four (defenders) on me," O'Neal demanded. "I hate when y'all ... say that dumb ... , `You against Yao.' I'll always play him one-on-one. I don't think he'll ever play me one-on-one. Ever-ever-never. Never-ever-never."

    What the hell he's talking about. During their first game, he got BLOCKED 4 TIMES by YAO.
     
  18. KaiSeR SoZe

    KaiSeR SoZe Contributing Member

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    It is true though...Yao can't pick Shaq up one on one and it would be stupid to do so, its the same way vice versa. Yao is smart.
     
  19. AggNRox

    AggNRox Member

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    do you know how good rox defence is? must be best in NBA history. think about this. if shaq got four, does it means one who did not guard shaq must defend the rest of fakers, that is 4? 1 guards 4!!!!!!!!!!<a href='http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb008' target='_blank'><img src='http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/4/4_6_100.gif' border=0></a>. holy crap. can anyone find any example in NBA history, 1 guards 4?
     
  20. titaniumws

    titaniumws Member

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    just heard it from phil, they are gonna doubble yao!
     

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