Shaq Says Mavs Need Playoff Help

May 8, 2024

The NBA Playoff tournament is moving into the second round, and things are definitely heating up. (Except for the Miami Heat, who got booted in the first round by the Celtics.) There are plenty of interesting stories and moments happening almost every night. Did you see the Inside the NBA crew doing a singalong to a tequila sponsor for the show? Funny stuff…

In the first game of a round 2 series last night (as of this posting date), the Dallas Mavericks went into Oklahoma City and were pretty well handled by the OKC Thunder in Game 1 of their series. Even with superstars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, the Mavs got beat..and now they’re probably wondering how they can stop the youngest team in the playoffs. 

For some fans and analysts, that age factor for OKC has them wondering if the team can handle the stress and action of the Playoffs. So far, it seems to be NOT an issue. For those who are wondering, OKC is – by average player age – the second-youngest team in the Association. San Antonio is the youngest… but the Spurs are done for the summer.

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Still, the Thunder absolutely, positively did not look young and inexperienced against the Mavs. They play fast and loose – in a good way – and have solid (if young) leadership from MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, also known as SGA. 

Breaking down the game afterwards, our man Shaq said there are two big factors weighing on the Mavs as the playoffs grind on. Critics have pointed out that even with Doncic and Irving, the team is inconsistent. There’s not a lot of help coming from the bench to help out the superstar pair. 

As for O’Neal, he’s looking to Dallas players PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford to step up. He notes that while the Thunder have a deep two-way lineup, it’s important for Dallas to have some consistent options off the bench, and maybe even have some lesser-known role players make some noise on the starting lineup. 

Will it happen? Hard to tell. We’re only one game deep into this Western division series. Will OKC come down to Earth eventually? Again, hard to say. Stay tuned. It’s playoff time, friends. 

In other playoff news, Insider Charles Barkley is still firmly planted on the Boston Celtics bandwagon. So far Boston has indeed looked dominant, easily handling the Miami Heat, and dispatching the Cleveland Cavaliers by 25 points in the first game of their second-round series. 

Of course the Celtics are led by superstars like Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Barkley is looking down the bench and giving big props to his pick as an “X-factor” … Derrick White. Sir Charles has pinned a new nickname to White, calling him the “fireman,” since White has been hot throughout the playoffs. 

Hot, yes.. But also under the radar. So as the playoffs continue, it’ll be fun to see if the “fireman” stays hot, and if other players – both known and unknown – will turn up the heat in their Playoff journey. Stay tuned!

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