After big game, Rockets star Christian Wood roasts Shaquille O’Neal as ‘a casual’

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Even with James Harden traded and a shorthanded roster due to injuries, quarantines, and the process of completing post-trade physicals, the Rockets still found a way to defeat the Spurs in San Antonio, 109-105 (box score). Houston only had nine active players for Thursday’s game.

While head coach Stephen Silas called it a “special team win,” it certainly helped that Houston also had the best player on the floor at AT&T Center. Big man Christian Wood led the Rockets (4-6), who snapped a two-game losing streak, with 27 points, 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks, and he made a season-best 5-of-7 shots (71.4%) from 3-point range.

For Wood, who is now averaging more than 23 points and 10 rebounds per game, it’s yet another strong performance on what could be a path to the first All-Star nod of his young NBA career. In a postgame interview, which aired nationally on TNT, Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal (and current TV analyst) praised the 25-year-old for his strong play and said he wasn’t really familiar with Wood’s game before Thursday.

Wood quickly fired back, with a laugh: “Oh, man, you’re a casual.”

It made for a hilarious clip in real-time, but Wood said later that the praise from one of the NBA’s all-time elite big men meant a lot to him.

“It does, especially coming from a great like Shaq,” said Wood, asked about the praise. “It means a lot for him to take notice of my game, and him showing that appreciation and love towards me. It shows that I’m doing everything right. I just have to keep it up. Consistency is key, and I feel like so far, I’ve been consistent. … The sky is the limit for me.”

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