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Shaquille O'Neal picks his best game ever


On March 6, 2000, Shaquille O'Neal was in the middle of what would be his lone MVP season as his Los Angeles Lakers hosted the LA Clippers. That day also happened to be O'Neal's 28th birthday, and Shaq was all about planning a big party after the game. Here's how seriously did he take that night's opponents. 

Usually, I go home, eat lunch, take a nap, and get ready for the game. But we're playing against the great Keith Kloss and the LA Clippers, so I'm taking the night off. I had to get ready for the party. 

Shaquille O'Neal, Open Court

The Lakers were cruising through the season, entering the game with a 50-11 record, and going into a seemingly easy game against their city rival Clippers, one of the worst teams in the NBA at that point. Even though the Lakers were the favorites, the Clippers hung in there with them, being down by only 1 at halftime. 

They're killing us, and everybody's looking at me. Now I gotta play!

Shaquille O'Neal, Open Court

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Although Shaquille came into the game with an easy-going mindset, more concerned about his limo, and will there be enough champagne, the Lakers needed him to dominate. So maybe Shaq drops 30 and calls it a night. But he saw something else that really ticked him off.

I look over to the bench, and I see one of my idols telling Keith Kloss how to stop me. I see Kareem saying, "You gotta do this, you gotta do that." Now I'm pissed. 

Shaquille O'Neal, Open Court

The 7'1'', the 325-pound monster started to punish the unarmed Clippers front line, overpowering them in the paint and dunking his way to 61 points while shooting 24 for 35 from the field. In addition to his 61 points, he added an impressive 23 rebounds.

The Lakers went on to win the game easily, with the score being 103-123. Shaq was also mad Phil Jackson took him out of the game with 5 minutes to go because he thought he could have scored more. O'Neal is convinced Phil took him out so he wouldn't break Michael Jordan’s career-high of 69 points, but that was just Shaq’s theory.

Although Shaq got a bit more tired than he planned that game, he still managed to celebrate his birthday party after. Still to this day, this is one of the most dominating performances by any player we had ever seen.

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