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Shaq to Miss Third Straight Game

April 10, 2005

MIAMI (AP) _ Miami center Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t in the starting lineup Sunday against the Detroit Pistons, marking the third straight game he’s missed because of a stomach ailment and viral infection.

It also is the seventh full game O’Neal has sat out this season. Michael Doleac started at center against the Pistons.

``He’s feeling a lot better, but it’s not prudent to put him out there,″ coach Stan Van Gundy said.

Miami’s next game is Thursday at Philadelphia. Van Gundy said O’Neal would play then.

Last week, Miami split two games without O’Neal, beating Chicago at home 104-86 and then losing 97-81 in Memphis.

Miami already has clinched the No. 1 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs, but is hardly playing an inconsequential string of games to end the season. The Heat entered Sunday one game behind Phoenix in the race for the NBA’s best record, and tied with San Antonio for the league’s second-best mark.

O’Neal is averaging 23 points a game this season. He’s fifth in the league in rebounding (10.6), sixth in blocks (2.4) and leads the NBA in field-goal percentage (.599).

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