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Lebron gets Shaqqued, Adam Vinatieri, and More by Doug Cutler Jr

By Patriots Blog Writer Doug Cutler Jr.
6/25/09

First, a word about the trade that sent Shaquille O’Neal to the Cavaliers

If you haven’t heard, the Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired 37 year old center Shaquille O’Neal in return for two players and a second round draft pick. On the one hand, the Phoenix Suns (bless their heart) dump Shaq’s XXL salary and on the other hand the Cavs get…a washed up old center with an XXL salary. It’s not much of a secret that Lebron James has recently been pushing for his team to make a trade for the seven footer, but this episode only shows why James doesn’t quite have the intuitive savvy of a truly great ballplayer.

In his prime, Shaq was a monster due to his mastery of the complex skill of catching the ball in the paint and elbowing or otherwise bulldozing his defender on the way to a dunk. Countless inferior pivot men such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning simply had no effective way to stop Shaq’s brilliance in the post during the latter’s younger years. He was a tour-de-force with his “get out of jail FREE” card issued directly from the NBA’s front office.

Even considering the raw talent that seemed to ooze out of his pores years ago, the man is 37 years old and has a decade-and-a-half of “deft” play under his belt. Not to mention he’s literally the poster boy for a back-pain relief product for Pete’s sake! How much more can he have in his (larger than ever) tank? How could the Cavaliers not see what 99% of the sports world sees when they look at O’Neal? What is it they are counting on from an old, overweight, over-the-hill center? His exceptional free-throw shooting?


“The best I ever saw” (Part five of a series)

This week’s selection would be a sure-fire first ballot hall-of-famer if only he played another position. Adam Vinatieri is not only the best kicker I ever saw in a New England Patriots uniform, he is the best kicker I ever saw…period.

There’s an old adage that when good players play their best in big games, they become great players. This was never as true as it was for Vinatieri. Sure, there were more accurate kickers or guys who had “longer legs,” but he was “pretty good” all the time and outstanding when it counted most: The postseason.

Everybody remembers Vinatieri’s game-winning field goals in Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, but unquestionably his greatest feat, his most impressive accomplishment came two games before the Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams in New Orleans for their first world championship.

It was a cold, snowy night in Foxboro when the Oakland Raiders came to town for the divisional round of the 2001 NFL playoffs. For most of the game, the talented warm-weather California team had control of the contest, entering the fourth quarter with a 13-3 lead. After Tom Brady ran for a short score to bring the Patriots within three points, the Patriot offense got the ball back for one more crack at winning or tying the game. With time running dangerously low, Brady was hit, lost the ball, and the Raiders recovered. All seemed lost until the referee announced that the fumble was actually an incomplete pass and the Patriots still had possession. Just seconds later, with the entire season on the line, Bill Belichick sent out Vinatieri to attempt a game-tying field goal.

In a raging snow storm.

From 45 yards away.

Money.


Interesting statistic I’ll bet you didn’t know

In all-time regular season head-to-head match-ups with the other 31 teams in the NFL, the Patriots have outscored 16 teams in total points and 15 teams have outscored the Patriots.


Answer to last week’s question:

Troy Brown and Tedy Bruschi have ten Super Bowl appearances between them but have only two Pro-Bowl berths combined.

Question of the week:

Of the top 30 single-season scoring leaders in Patriots history, how many players are non-kickers?

(Answer will be provided next week)

2 comments:

  1. This is pretty easy for me....Shaq..Umm yeah-Cleveland trys every year at either has been players or almost washed up has been used to be good players to surround Lebran with. And as far as Adam Vinatiri goes...yup I certainly agree!

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  2. Shaq is done. I would have rather the Cavs gotten Stoudamire or Bosch next year, but I guess Bosch is still a possiblilty. At least the Cavs didn't have to give up much talent or in the way of draft picks.

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