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MMPG: Player of the Week

Shaquille O'Neal, Phoenix Suns

Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk. (AP Photo)

While the rest of the world was focused on looking to the future last week, Shaquille O'Neal was turning back the clock to a time, not so long ago, when he bulldozed opponents with his brute force. O'Neal led the Phoenix Suns to three consecutive wins over Oklahoma City, Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers. It's not the most fearsome threesome in the NBA, but it's hard to discount averages of 23 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots when O'Neal is two months shy of his 37th birthday.

O'Neal has been revived in the desert. Teamed with the Suns' top-notch medical staff and those Icy Hot patches, O'Neal has been relieved of the pain his hip and his sore knee. He also has a coach in Terry Porter who isn't afraid to feed the aging big man in he low post. O'Neal is getting a night off here and there, but he is averaging 17.2 points, almost nine rebounds and 1.5 blocks this season.

O'Neal has scored more than 20 points just seven times this season, and two of those games were last week, when he had double-doubles on back-to-back nights against Oklahoma City and Memphis, scoring 52 points with 25 rebounds.

By Michael Lee  |  January 5, 2009; 11:06 AM ET
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