Rockets’ Christian Wood Calls Shaquille O’Neal A “Casual” Following Win Against Spurs

Published 01/14/2021, 11:33 PM EST
Dec 28, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Houston Rockets forward Christian Wood (35) reacts following a three point basket made in the first quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


The Houston Rockets played their first game without James Harden on the roster tonight since 2012. They also had Eric Gordon and John Wall missing due to injury. But despite that, they beat the San Antonio Spurs after a heroic effort from Christian Wood. They took down their Texas rivals 109-105 in a close encounter.

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During the post-game interview, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal apologized to Wood for not being familiar with his game. Wood was at his hilarious best and replied, “Oh man, you’re a casual.”

But Shaq just pretended to ignore that and continued to praise him and said that he is proud of him. Knowing Shaq’s relationships with modern-day centers, Wood could be on the receiving end of a lot of unwarranted criticism in the future.

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Can Christian Wood step up to be the leader for the Houston Rockets now?

With the loss of Harden, not only did the Rockets lose an MVP caliber player and scorer, but they also lost their leader. So Wood is already stepping up, and it was evident in the interview.

He said, “(Our mindset tonight was) Mamba mentality. That’s what everybody was thinking. With Vic coming in, (we’ve got) a lot to prove. We’re all dogs out there. Starting with DeMarcus to me, everybody from 1 through 15 is going to come out here and play hard.”

Wood played like a true leader tonight. He had 27 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks, and also went 5-7 from the three-point line. He became the first player in Rockets history to record that statline.

Not only is Wood a new arrival, but he is also just 25 years old. So it is commendable that he is stepping up immediately after Harden leaving.

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The Rockets still have a very solid starting lineup, with John Wall and Victor Oladipo as their backcourt, and Wood and DeMarcus Cousins as their frontcourt. They can make the playoffs easily if they stay fit, which is the main concern for three out of those above mentioned players. All of them will be looking for redemption after having injury marred seasons.

The Western Conference is incredibly competitive this season, but Wood and the Rockets will do their best to at least make the playoffs.

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Aaron Mathew

1666 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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