With the Los Angeles Lakers in dire need of a playoff push, there’s one person who believes they can do it and that’s franchise legend Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq has never been shy in his thoughts about the Lakers. His purple and gold loyalty is nothing new. Winning three championships in L.A., O’Neal has more than enough cred to talk about the Lakers. Sometimes though, it can backfire.
Earlier this season, he made headlines for not knowing who Rui Hachiumra was after the Lakers acquired him in a trade. The moment went viral on Twitter with Kevin Durant and Shaq exchanging blows on social media. O’Neal eventually apologized for being unfamiliar with Hachimura, though he proceeded to call him Rudy.
Before the Lakers’ key TNT matchup against the Grizzlies on Tuesday, Memphis guard Dillon Brooks showed up in a Stone Cold Steve Austin-Esque outfit. Shaq was proposed a bet that he would need to wear the outfit himself if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, and he accepted, via NBA on TNT:
.@SHAQ: “If the Lakers don’t make the playoffs, I’ll wear that on the last show.” 🤣
The TNT crew reacts to Dillon Brooks’ arrival fit pic.twitter.com/jY1s3Ma57O
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 1, 2023
It’s a bold affirmation from Shaq, especially with the Lakers suffering some key injuries at an unfortunate time.
LeBron James is set to be reevaluated in two weeks with a right ankle injury. Depending on where the Lakers are in the playoff race, he could shut himself down. Newly acquired guard D’Angelo Russell is still sidelined with a right ankle sprain while Anthony Davis missed Wednesday’s game with a right foot stress injury.
Shaq still believes in the Lakers enough to say he will wear Brooks’ outfit on TNT’s last show, however. He predicted last year that if the Lakers slipped in the playoffs as an eighth seed, they would beat the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Obviously, that didn’t come to fruition, but it emphasizes his continued belief in the purple and gold.
With roughly 20 games remaining in the season, L.A. needs more than belief to make the playoffs.
Austin Reaves points to turnovers as the main reason for Grizzlies loss
The Lakers had a tough loss on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. It was a tight game until the 4th quarter when Memphis pulled away behind Ja Morant’s explosive play.
The Lakers were marred by 26 turnovers, a figure guard Austin Reaves felt was the difference.
“That was the game. Any time you turn the ball over 26 times… for 41 points, that’s like spotting a team basically 41 points,” he said. “So I think they had what, seven turnovers, nine turnovers, I think we only had nine transition points or points off turnovers. That’s the game right there.”
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