The Inside the NBA crew is the most well known group of NBA analysts on television, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that would consider them the group most dialed in on the league — Kenny Smith notwithstanding. Shaq and Charles Barkley’s understanding of the game of basketball is unassailable as Hall of Famers and two of the best to ever grace the hardwood, but few would confuse them with film junkies who are watching an awful lot of games outside of their Tuesday and Thursday night responsibilities.
So, on Thursday night when the shorthanded, James Harden-less Houston Rockets traveled to San Antonio to face the Spurs on TNT, Shaq made the revelation at halftime that he was not familiar with the work of Houston center Christian Wood. Wood was paid handsomely this offseason by Houston after a breakout season in Detroit last year, and through the tumultuous early portion of the season in Houston has been the source of the most optimism for the Rockets. Wood may not be a household name to the most casual of NBA fans, but if you’ve watched the Rockets this year he’s been nearly impossible to ignore, as he averages 22.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
On Thursday, Wood was the driving force in pushing Houston past the Spurs in comeback fashion, as he had a monster 27-point, 15-rebound night, with three blocks for good measure. As such, he was selected for the postgame interview with the fellas in the studio and when Shaq admitted to not being familiar with him before tonight, Wood couldn’t help but call him “a casual” in retort.
Christian Wood called Shaq a 'casual' in his postgame interview lmaaooo pic.twitter.com/hs0e3HC2DE
— Rob Lopez (@r0bato) January 15, 2021
It is, objectively, a hilarious and honest response from Wood, and it was made all the funnier by Chuck establishing his credentials by noting that he’s been taking notice of Wood’s game since last year in Detroit as a little jab at Shaq before his question. Knowing Shaq, this very well could be the start of his latest attempted feud with a current big man — his last effort in goading Rudy Gobert into a war of words didn’t work as the Jazz center chose not to respond in kind.