CANOE Network SLAM!Sports

 
SLAM! Sports SLAM! Basketball
  Mon, February 2, 2004


NBA NEWS
RAPTORS
NCAA BASKETBALL
SCOREBOARD
COURTSIDE BLOG
COLUMNISTS
COMMENT






PLAYER BIOS
MOVEMENTS
INJURIES
STATS


FIND A PLAYER:
CONF. STANDINGS
EAST STANDINGS
WEST STANDINGS
WEEKLY SCHEDULE
DAILY LEADERS














The Last Word
Give the Raptors credit for their effort, but if you're going to stop Superman, you better bring a wheelbarrow of Kryptonite with you.

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

Shaquille O'Neal was asked if he has anything to teach Chris Bosh. "Nothing," O'Neal replied after his Los Angeles Lakers had defeated Bosh's Raptors 84-83 yesterday.

Why not?

"Because the type of centre he is and the type of centre I am is like baloney and ham," Shaq said. "He should learn from Yao Ming or Dirk Nowitzki, what they do. Nobody does what I do."

So which is Bosh, baloney or ham?

"Baloney," Shaq quipped.

The spindly Bosh actually played a brave game yesterday. But as it turned out, even though the Lakers were missing Batman (Kobe Bryant, for argument's sake) and the Mailman (Karl Malone), they still had Superman and The Glove. While The Glove (Gary Payton) had his heroic moment late, the Lakers ultimately prevailed because of Superman, and we really don't have to tell you who that is.

O'Neal wound up with a game-high 36 points, a game-high five assists and eight rebounds in 39 minutes. He was far better in the first half than he was in the second, partially because of fatigue (he has been back for only three games after missing 12 due to a calf injury, not to mention the fact the Lakers played on the West Coast late Friday night). Also, because the Raptors got more determined and physically inclined as the game wore on.

"We had to adjust quickly to the time change, but I thought Shaq got off to a great start," Lakers forward Rick Fox said. "It's not his normal start on a three-time-zone switch. But then they started beating on him, which they had to do."

Lakers coach Phil Jackson opined that the Raptors had employed something of an illegal defence against Shaq in the second half, but the refs chose not to intervene. In fact, complaints about the officials were the theme of the day on both sides, with the game ending in controversial fashion as Payton stole the ball from a driving Vince Carter.

"When (Carter) came to the top, I told (Fox) to funnel him my way," Payton said. "When (Carter) ducked his head, he didn't see where I was coming from.

"(Carter) should complain. He was on offence and he wants to win the basketball game. We should say it's a no-call, because we want to win, too. It's two opinions. I knew he was going to duck his head, but I didn't grab his hand or anything. I think I got all ball."

If it weren't for Shaq, however, it never would have come down to a steal in the dying seconds.

The absence of Bryant, because of a 10-stitch cut on his right index finger, and Malone, because of a torn ligament in his right knee, may have been disappointing to Toronto fans. Bryant, who is facing rape charges in Eagle County, Colo., missed an opportunity to see if Canadian hecklers are more polite than American ones. But the patrons still were treated to a spectacular first half from O'Neal.

The Raptors stuffed some Kryptonite into their shorts and things got a little hairy in the second half, with bodies crashing on to wood and technical fouls being assessed to four players as well as Jackson. "Hey coach, put in Domi," one fan yelled to Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill.

"My message to (NBA commissioner) David Stern is to bring in some (referees) who understand the game and don't try to take it over," said Shaq, who always can find something to complain about. "People pay good money to watch the athletes, so let us (bleeping) play.

"(The game) shouldn't have been scrappy. (The Raptors) made it scrappy. But we hung in there, through all the b.s."

In the end, the team that won the game was the one that had the 7-foot-1, 350-pound behemoth, as often is the case. The Super Bowl may have been in Houston yesterday, but Superman was in Toronto.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


Results | Story