Lakers Fell Shaq in Suns Debut

Though the big man holds his own in Phoenix debut
By Lev Weinstein,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 3:10 AM CST
Phoenix Suns' Shaquille O'Neal, left, grabs a rebound as Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol, right, of Spain, backs away in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008, in Phoenix....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Despite being on the wrong end of a 130-124 finale, the "Big Cactus" proved his worth in his debut with Phoenix against the Lakers last night, the Arizona Republic reports. Shaquille O'Neal had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Suns, who are now locked in a first-place tie with Los Angeles in the fight for the Pacific Division.

"It's not my role to come in and try to take over," said Shaq, adding: "I'm more like a senior adviser on this team."  Amare Stoudemire posted 37 points, and Nash 26 for Phoenix, but for the third time this season, the Suns were eclipsed by Bryant's Lakers, as Shaq's former best rival put up 41, supplemented by Gasol's 29.