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'VERY UPSET' BY CRITICS, O'NEAL SAYS

Shaquille O'Neal flashed that wide smile, and took on the critics who say he's too old and too slow to fit in with the sleek and speedy Suns.

"I look forward to making people eat their words," he said at a news conference Thursday.

O'Neal met the media for the first time since the deal Wednesday that sent the 14-time All-Star from Miami to Phoenix in exchange for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.

He acknowledged a new motivation after going from a team with the worst record in the NBA to one with the best record in the Western Conference. Widespread criticism of the deal has not gone unnoticed.

"I'm very upset," he said. "You just don't really want to get me upset. When I'm upset, I'm known to do certain things - like win championships."

Phoenix is without a title in the team's 40-year history.

O'Neal, who has been battling a hip injury, dismissed the idea that he can't fit in. "I've been hearing a lot of, 'He can't run, he can't do this,'" he said. "You're going to be very surprised. You know in traditional basketball, when a team runs a lot, there's always been somebody to ignite the break. If I'm getting that rebound I'm going to be igniting that break."

Protested game: The NBA will wait until the Feb. 22 trade deadline passes to decide who can play in the resumption of a protested game involving the Heat, which just sent O'Neal to Phoenix, and the Hawks. On March 8, the teams will replay the last 51.9 seconds of their Dec. 19 game because of a scoring error. Miami lost in overtime, but official scorers incorrectly disqualified O'Neal with six fouls.

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