Hey Shaq, How Does Missing the Playoffs Taste?

Few things in Shaquille O'Neal’s career have been constant — not his co-star, not his weight, not his commitment to working out, not his desire  to play defense.

B there was always one thing you could count on from Shaq. During his illustrious career the big guy has never missed the postseason. Now you can strike that one off the list.

The Suns need to beat the Dallas Mavericks last night if they had any hopes of playing basketball through April. They had lost four in a row and were four back of the Mavericks for the last playoff spot in the West.

So what did they do? What they always do, they played no defense. Zippo. Zilch.

This strategy did not work.  Dirk Nowitzki, guy you might what to play some defense on, because he’s good, lit them up. The Suns covered the big German with a much smaller man (good luck Jason Richardson), the Mavericks just kept feeding him the ball in the high post. Dirk shot over the smaller defender and drained the 15-footers. Again. And again. The Suns didn’t adjust. So Dirk kept shooting, scoring 23 in the second half.

The Mavericks win 122-117. Now the Suns are five games back — six if you want to count that pesky tiebreaker.

Shaq is not really to blame. If you want to blame someone talk to Steve Kerr, who tried to fit round peg of this roster into the square hole of the Spurs model. The Suns went from the most entertaining team in the league and a title contender to missing the playoffs in just one season.

Shaq, how does that taste?

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