Shaq – Howard feud heats up in LA

This is unexpected. Superman is fighting Superman.

Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard collided verbally Thursday with a predictably messy landing.

Howard was not thrilled with O’Neal’s assertion that Philadelphia’s Andrew Bynum and New Jersey’s Brook Lopez were better centers than him.

“I don’t care what Shaq says,” Howard said flatly after Lakers
practice. “Shaq played the game and he is done. It’s time to move on.
He hated the fact when he played that older guys were talking about him
and how he played. Now he’s doing the exact same thing. Just let it go.
There’s no sense for him to be talking trash to me. He did his thing in
the league. Sit back and relax. Your time is up.”

It might be just a bit awkward when O’Neal gets his No. 34 Lakers jersey retired at halftime of an April 2 game at Staples Center. Howard said he would not try to patch anything up with O’Neal before then.

“What
do we need to be on the same page for?” Howard said. “I have respect
for him and what he did for basketball. That’s it. When my time is up,
there’s going to be somebody else who can do everything I can do and
probably do it better. Instead of me talking about him, I’ll do my job
to try to help him get to where I’m at. I think that’s what guys who
have done it before us should do.”

O’Neal has jabbed Howard in the
past, calling Bynum better than him earlier this year, though it was
curious for O’Neal to also put Lopez ahead of him as the game’s
second-best center.

The light-rebounding Lopez has never been an
All-Star. Howard is a six-time All-Star and was defensive player of the
year three times.

“I’m not talking about dunking, I’m talking
about playing like a big man with moves,” O’Neal, a TNT analyst, told
NBA.com. “My man [Lopez], before he had the foot injury, was putting up
nice, solid big man numbers. If you put him with a nice team around him,
you can get a lot from this big man. Like if you want to go to flash
and dunking and the pick and roll, you gotta go with Dwight Howard. But
me, the last true original dun duda, I’m going with Andrew Bynum and
[Lopez].”

“Dun duda” is slang for the best.

Lopez has career averages of 17.4 points and 7.5 rebounds in parts of four NBA
seasons. He missed almost all last season with a stress fracture in his
right foot. Howard has career averages of 18.4 points and 13 rebounds.

Howard has gradually added to his workload since undergoing back surgery in April to repair a herniated disk.

He
took part in a five-on-five scrimmage Thursday, though with a
restriction. It was actually five-on-five-on-five, with two of three
teams rotating quickly on the court, providing Howard with some rest.
“It doesn’t look like he’s hurting a bit,” Pau Gasol said. “It’s very good news for us.”

Howard took some contact after getting fouled by undrafted rookie center Ronnie Aguilar and also dunked after a touch pass from Gasol.

He
will not play Sunday in the Lakers’ exhibition opener but Howard is
expected back for the Oct. 30 season opener against Dallas.