Shaq Revealed Jazz Were Always On Lakers Minds During Three-Peat Run

Mar 23, 2022, 11:16 AM | Updated: 11:24 am
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 24: Shaquille O'Neal speaks onstage during the 2019 NBA Awards pres...
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 24: Shaquille O'Neal speaks onstage during the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on TNT at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY – Two decades have winning three straight championships, Lakers legend Shaq O’Neal admitted that his team dodged the Jazz in the Playoffs.

On TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” Shaq talked about the Lakers jockeying for position in the playoffs in order to avoid playing the Utah Jazz.

The discussion came up when Dwyane Wade, O’Neal, Candace Parker and Adam Lefkoe were discussing the standings in the Eastern Conference, while talking about teams potentially jockeying for position to avoid certain matchups.

You can watch the full clip, below.

“I played for a guy in Phil Jackson that did that,” O’Neal said. “You noticed how we won all those championships and never had to play Utah. When we first got to LA, Utah swept us.”

Adam Lefkoe asked O’Neal if Jackson asked him to take some games off and he admitted that Jackson wanted Shaq to take a couple of games off.

“The man had a great resume so I listened,” O’Neal said when asked how he felt about that. “For me, it was like getting rest.”

Former Miami Heat legend and a current member of the Jazz ownership group Dwyane Wade did not agree with that type of strategy.

“I can’t ride with that,” Wade said. “I can’t ride with the mentality that you are jockeying for position. You are already losing. That’s a loser mentality to be jockeying for position. Guys need to learn how to play together and win together.”

In 2000, the Lakers were the top seed in the Western Conference with the Jazz at No. 2. LA beat the Kings in five games in the first round, Suns in five games in the second round, Trail Blazers in seven games in the Western Conference Finals and the Pacers in six games in the NBA Finals. The Jazz were eliminated in the second round in five games by Portland.

In 2001, LA was the No. 2 team in the west and swept the Blazers in three games in the first round, followed by a four-game sweep of the Sacramento Kings in the second round. Then they swept the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Finals before losing just one game in the entire postseason and that was to the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals. Utah was the No. 4 seed in the playoffs and lost to the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the first round.

In 2002, the Jazz were the 8-seed in the west, losing in four games to the Sacramento Kings in the first round. The Lakers were the 3-seed in west, sweeping the Trail Blazers in the first round, eliminating the Spurs in five games in the second round, beating the Kings in seven games in the Conference Finals and sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals.

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Shaq Revealed Jazz Were Always On Lakers Minds During Three-Peat Run