OT: Shaq's on and off approach By B.J. Armstrong

 
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KoolMo
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:07 pm    Post subject: OT: Shaq's on and off approach By B.J. Armstrong

Shaq's on and off approachBy B.J. Armstrong
ESPN Insider

There goes Ryan Gomes beating him up court. Raef LaFrentz is running ahead of him, no problem. Delonte West is shooting open shots. And Paul Pierce is driving unimpeded to the hoop.
Watching Shaquille O'Neal and the Miami Heat in Wednesday night's 103-96 win over the Boston Celtics, you see ample evidence of the big man sticking to a belief that he can turn it on and off, and peak at the end of the season.

Even as a Celtics team is sprinting past him.

"I always break the season down into four parts, and this is the third part for me," Shaq was quoted as saying in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, "so I'm just trying to pick it up a little bit and in the next 20 games really pick it up and have a different sense of urgency before we go into the playoffs. It's just me getting into my flow, into my rhythm."

Um, Shaq, I don't know if this is going to work.

What Shaq is telling me with this, is "we'll do just enough to win the game."

Well, what if you don't win?

Shaq's older now, and his experience tells him what lies ahead, and he must conserve his energy. But the downside of his experience is that it's easy talk yourself into shortchanging your approach.

You can't control winning and losing. But you can control effort.

At some point, you've got to show up and play ball. I believe that defensive play is the one thing that carries over from the regular season to the playoffs. Offense? You miss your shots and you're out.

Another problem: The Heat don't seem to have the urgency to achieve as a team that hasn't won a championship should. When we won our first title with Chicago in 1991, we as a group knew that we were only as good as our last effort.

Effort or no effort, this is a subpar Miami defensive team at best.

I see some glaring weaknesses: Their inability to defend on the perimeter against dribble penetration; perimeter shooting is average; and they have difficulty defending the power forward position. Antoine Walker and Udonis Haslem are undersized at that position, especially when you consider they could potentially be matching up with Rasheed Wallace or Tim Duncan.

Make no mistake, the Heat certainly have a chance. They have the right coach. They have the roster capable of beating the Pistons. With Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning and Walker coming off the bench, that gives them a solid eight-man rotation. We saw Shandon Anderson giving them good offense against the Celtics. And of course, there's Dwyane Wade.

It all returns to the question of turning it on and off. You could count on Shaq in his prime to be going full out for about 79 out of 82 games. Now he's Shaq only about half the time.

Shaq had 16 points and nine boards in the win over Boston. Some of his numbers have improved as the year has gone on. For February, his 21.2 ppg average is up from January's 19.6 ppg.

I don't know about not giving maximum effort. Either the light is on, or the light is off -- no sense making a point about "off-ness." That's just a shadow in a world of illusion. Living in the illusion is comfortable. It is the truth that you really fear.

The truth is you've got to really work, every night.

So what does "off" look like?

If they're not careful, maybe it's the lights of Miami's home court, turned off earlier than hoped.

ESPN Analyst B.J. Armstrong, a career .425 3-point shooter, won three titles with the Bulls and played in the NBA from 1989-2000.
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KoolMo
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:09 pm    Post subject:

It's interesting to me. We know Miami fans have been frustrated with Snaq. Now we are seeing criticism from more "public" and nationally know voices.

This doesn't help that fact that we're losing games we shouldn't.
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LakerLegend
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:43 pm    Post subject:

What kind of world is it when BJ Armstrong can criticize Snaq? BJ is spot on 100%, but I remember when only true legends like Bill Walton could dis Snaq and get away with it. Snaq thinks he can turn it on and off, but he'll learn that as you get older, your body can't as easily cash checks that your mind writes.
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lakers0505
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:46 pm    Post subject:

Shaq on and off switch broke after the threepeat.
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Van-Exel26
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject:

Hey guys, let's keep on bashing Shaq to make ourselves feel better about the Lakers sucking!
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lakers0505
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:40 am    Post subject:

^ ill tell u what, it sure eases the pain alittle bit
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