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Shaq Changes Lawrence Frank's Name


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Shaq belittles Frank after non-foul calls

Monday, May 02, 2005

By DAVID WALDSTEIN

 

EAST RUTHERFORD - Still bothered by Lawrence Frank's criticism of the officiating on Friday, Shaquille O'Neal called the Nets coach "Laura" after yesterday's game, suggesting Frank's manhood was in question for complaining that the referees didn't call enough fouls on O'Neal earlier in the series.

 

"I wish they'd go to a manly tactic," the big man said. "No whining. When he whined, that's why I changed his name to Laura Frank."

 

O'Neal laughed after he said it, and seemed pretty amused, even if it may have offended half the population for suggesting the Nets are whiners.

 

On Saturday he made it clear he didn't appreciate Frank's comments about the refereeing by using an Al Pacino accent from the movie "Scarface," saying, "Okay, Lawrence Frank, you want to (mess) with me?" He said it with a smile, of course.

 

When asked yesterday if any of the campaigning with the referees worked, O'Neal said, "Nothing works" after the Heat's 110-97 victory over the Nets in the fourth and final game of the series.

 

But something seemed to be working in the first half as O'Neal was held to zero points on 0-for-5 shooting from the floor while collecting three fouls. As Heat coach Stan Van Gundy pointed out, O'Neal was playing the post in the first half much the way Van Gundy might have.

 

At one point in the half Shaq headed to the locker room, raising concern his thigh injuries were seriously hampering him, but he returned shortly afterward, having adjusted the football pads covering the bruises on his thighs.

 

"I had the thin football pads and I had to come and put in real thick football pads," he said. "I say they allowed them to play football, so I had to come readjust my pads."

 

In the second half he brushed off the Nets' would-be tacklers and scored 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting. He played only 27 minutes because of the first-half foul trouble, and the extra time on the bench probably helped his legs.

 

But now that the Heat has completed the four-game sweep O'Neaal will get at least six days to rest his thighs and prepare for the winner of the Bulls-Wizards series.

 

O'Neal has given himself an `F' for the series and estimated his strength to be at between 50 and 20 percent in the series. He averaged 18.3 points and 33 minutes over the four games, but didn't practice at all between them because of the injuries. That's why the sweep will help the Heat so much.

 

"It was very important," he said. "But we weren't really using the rest as a motivator. We just wanted to come here and take care of business and not take these guys too lightly."

 

But while O'Neal was hurting, his teammates did the necessary work to make up for his deficiencies. In Game 1 Damon Jones and Dwyane Wade combined for 62 points. In Game 2 Alonzo Mourning scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 16 minutes and in Game 3 Udonis Haslem pulled in 19 rebounds.

 

"They know I'm a little bit banged up," O'Neal said, "and they definitely carried me this season."

 

But now, with all the time off, O'Neal promised that the injuries, which obviously slowed him in this series, wouldn't dog him in the next round.

 

"I'll go in and get a lot of treatment," he said, "and I'll be good to go."

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