Make Your Picks Now!

By Jon Loomer

Previous Expert Picks

June 14 - Do we really need to put much thought into this today?

For Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals, we chose Udonis Haslem and James Posey because we felt we had to do it.

Today's Expert Pick
Player: Shaquille O'Neal, Miami
Opponent: Dallas Mavericks
Regular Season Averages
June 13 -- Dwyane Wade
June 11 -- James Posey
June 8 -- Udonis Haslem
June 3 -- J. Stackhouse
June 2 -- Ben Wallace
Previous Expert Picks
June 14 -- The Rebound
June 9 -- Kicking and Screaming
June 6 -- Experts Win!
June 1 -- Hold on Tight
May 30 -- No Expert Witness
Games 3 and 4? The fun part. We picked Dwyane Wade for Tuesday's Game 3, and he performed spectacularly. The word "spectacularly" doesn't even do his fantabulational performance justice.

And, yes, I know that "fantabulational" isn't a word. He was so great that we had to create a new word to describe the performance.

Next up? No doubts about this one either. It's Shaquille O'Neal.

It helps that Wade's nifty (yeah, nifty doesn't work either) 57 PRA on Tuesday reaffirmed our direction. We wanted to save the Heat's two best players for home games. One down, one to go.

It was also nice to see Shaq bounce back and have a more productive game. He was involved early in the passing game, dishing out five assists on the night.

There was a time when Shaq was known as a passing center. He averaged 1.9 per game this season, nearly two assists down from his career high. He hadn't dipped below two since he matched the 1.9 in his rookie season. He had two assists through the entire Pistons series, but has already managed 12 in three games with the Mavericks.

So I like where this is headed. He may not be scoring much or hitting his free throws, but he's reestablishing himself in the passing game. That's a start.

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And it looks like Shaq has regained confidence in his free throw stroke after making four of six attempts in Game 3.

Want more? Dwyane Wade scored 42 points in Game 3. In all likelihood, he won't do that again in Game 4. Someone else will need to step up to score some points. That player?

Shaquille O'Neal.