The Big Cactus refuses to end his career as just another guy who played too long; Instead, Superman’s got his cape back
Don’t tell Shaquille O’Neal he’s done.
After a pair of 30 plus point games, and two resoundig wins over Toronto, and more importantly his former team, the Lakers, Shaq not only looks fresh, he looks good. Damn good.
He looks so good I’m gonna go bet online
Widely criticized for being over-the-hill and ‘now guardable with one man’ Shaq has proved in this whacky 2009 season that he’s still go it. Maybe his first step isn’t as fast, and maybe his team isn’t as good, but one thing Shaq has shown since Amar’e Stoudemire’s season ending injury is that he is ready to carry this Suns team.
A Suns team that has suffered through a tumultous season, a failed head coach, a trade that completely reshaped the team, and an almost trade that would have rendered Shaq’s renaissance moot, is just two games out of a playoff spot, and about 3 1/2 from the fifth seed. Phoenix has been a playoff mainstay the last few years, so for them to find themselves still on the outside looking in, even after a 6-2 start under Alvin Gentry is a message that Phoenix will have to win more games like this one, against quality opponents if they want to make the playoffs.
It’s kind of odd really. Shaq’s better than he has been in years, but his team is not. The Suns are still a series of puzzle pieces that kind of fit, but kind of don’t. Once a lightning fast team with deadly three point shooters, and phenomenal spacing, and lest us forget terrific free throw shooting, the Suns are now a team searching for past glory. But the deadly three point shooting has slowly lef the building, and the spacing is still a work in progress. With Shaq in the fold the foul shooting is no longer top notch.
But Phoenix refuses to say die. Even with Amar’e’s eye sidelining him the rest of this regular season, the Suns refuse to go down without a fight. Old Yeller believes they have one more run left in their veteran legs. Steve Nash still thinks this team can be something. Grant Hill signed with the Suns because he wanted a championship, and felt Phoenix gave him his best shot. Leandro Barbosa has seen what the Suns can be when they are clicking on all cylinders. Jason Richardson is longing for a sustained run deep into the playoffs. Add a few relentless hard working journeyman and those are your Phoenix Suns.
Once the envy of the league, the Suns are now a curiosity. The team that has been smitten with the idea of glory, but slowly dismantled under the unbelievably strange luck that has met them along the way. Something won’t allign to give the Suns that fair opportunity to win with all their best guys. So 2009 is more of a final chapter. One last go.
They probably won’t win a championship, the odds are currently against them making the playoffs. But make no mistake, Shaq is out to prove something. he still feels he can be the face of a franchise. He still believes he can be the star that takes his team to the promised land.
Steve Nash has enjoyed remarkable success in Phoenix. This could be his last shot to win a title with the team that has made him a household name.
Will the Suns make something off this scrap heap of mismatched pieces and veteran stars who are almost past their prime? That is the question.
If you ask Shaq, it ain’t over till the 325 power monster sings. Or raps.
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