My, how history repeats itself:

While walking out of the Rockets’ locker room at Toyota Center after Wednesday night’s exhibition victory over Milwaukee in which he never got off the bench, Battier turned to teammate Bonzi Wells and cracked, “You know, I scored just as many points tonight as I did in Dallas.”

On Tuesday night against the Mavericks, Battier played 25 minutes and took just one shot.

Which is the problem. The good kind, at least, for coach Jeff Van Gundy.

“I think Shane is better than I expected,” Van Gundy said of the 6-8 forward, who was obtained in the draft-night trade from Memphis for first-round pick Rudy Gay and Stromile Swift. “You’re always happy when you get more than what you expected. Most times in life, you get less. So I’m happy about that.”

What it will take for Van Gundy to be blissfully exultant is for Battier to stop working at merely being a facilitator for Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady and start thinking about carrying more of the offensive load himself.

“I think he hurts us by passing up open shots,” Van Gundy said. “He’s one of our best shooters. When the ball comes to him and he’s open, he needs to shoot it every single time, and I should be the one pulling the reins back versus him passing up shots to do what he’s been conditioned to do — hit the open man.

“It’s just as bad for a good shooter to pass up an open shot to throw it to a more guarded guy. Unfortunately, I think I think he’s a better shooter than he thinks he is.

During Shane’s sophomore year at Duke, Sports Illustrated published a story on some motivational tools Coach K used to get Shane to…shoot the ball more.

“I had this talk before my sophomore year at Duke, when I averaged seven points and was a banger, rebounder and screen-setter,” Battier said. “Coach K (Mike Krzyewski) brought me into his office and said, ‘That’s not gonna cut it anymore.’

“Then he really got on me my junior year after Elton Brand, William Avery, Corey Maggette and Trajan Langdon left. Coach K used to call me every day in Chicago, where I was interning in the summer. He’d say, ‘Can you picture yourself as a 20-point scorer?’ I’d say, ‘Well, coach,’ and he’d hang up on me. He called me every day, and the second that I hemmed and hawed, he’d hang up on me.

“It took me a few days. When I finally said, ‘Yes, coach, I can see myself being that guy,’ then we had a normal conversa- tion.”

As a senior, Battier averaged 19.9 points, was named the National College Player of the Year and helped Duke win the NCAA championship.

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