Back to the top
1: Lakers 106 - Kings 99
your home-court advantage goodbye.
SACRAMENTO. It took the Kings 61 wins and 19,755 regular-season
minutes to gain home-court advantage. It took 12 minutes to see
it vanish, as the Lakers led 36-22 after one quarter. Those 12
minutes might haunt this team a long time.
The Lakers shot 67
percent, hit three 3-pointers, forced five turnovers and scored
36 points in the first 12 minutes -- their biggest quarter of
the postseason. Bryant capped it with a steal and a flying dunk
with 3.5 seconds left.
For the last 36 minutes
the Kings were able to play with the two-time defending champions.
It's those first 12 minutes that may ultimately doom a team that
has now lost the only real advantage it had.
Kobe Bryant scored
30 points, and Shaquille O'Neal had 26 as the Lakers extended
the longest road playoff winning streak in NBA history to 12 games,
beating the Sacramento Kings 106-99 Saturday in the first game
of the Western Conference finals. Bryant did most of his damage
in the first half with 16 points and O'Neal had a huge third quarter
Los Angeles never
trailed in claiming home-court advantage in the best-of-seven
series. Their game plan was to attack Sacramento's best player
Chris Webber at both ends of the floor.
CWebb finished with
impressive numbers -- 28 points, 14 rebounds, six assists -- which
is why boxscores can't be trusted. Horry's 18 points, eight rebounds
and three assists were more than enough to make Webber's contribution
The Lakers know CWebb
is a mediocre one-on-one defender, and that he creates havoc by
hanging around the lane. He didn't have that luxury with Horry,
who matched him point for point in the first quarter with eight,
and buried a couple of 3-pointers.
They also let Horry
handle CWebb alone on defense.
CWebb's best attribute is his passing, but that's a little more
difficult when you're not being double-teamed and thereby have
a teammate open.
The Lakers won convincingly
with their basic game plan, meaning they have several wrinkles
to throw at the Kings should they muster a better challenge in
Game 2. The defending champions didn't even attempt to go big
in the backcourt, or put Kobe on Bibby, or fully utilize Shaq
vs. Scot Pollard and Vlade Divac.
The Kings played
without All-Star forward Peja Stojakovic, who is expected to miss
Game Two with a sprained right ankle. Hedo Turkoglu got the start
in Stojakovic's place, missed all eight shots and did not score
If, by the end of
Monday's game, the Lakers have beaten the Kings twice, this series
is over. And no one will remember those 61 wins, that Western
Conference regular-season title, and those cowbells.
Fox: "It was an interesting start, they broke a record
for the loudest crowd, and five minutes later, it was the quietest
Rick Fox: "When you can win a game without showing
your full hand, you're in good shape, when Phil keeps calling
for the same plays we've had in since the beginning of the year,
I thought, 'Oh, I guess we don't need our new stuff.' As for them,
I thought we saw everything they have."
(LAL) 30 pts 6 reb 5 assist 2 block
Shaq (LAL) 26 pts 9 reb 4 block
Horry (LAL) 18 pts 8 reb 4 steals
Chris Webber (Sac) 28 pts 14 reb 6 assist
Vlade Divac (Sac) 12 pts 11 reb
Back to the top
2: Lakers 90 - Kings 96
for one day.
SACRAMENTO. This time, Mike Bibby and the Sacramento Kings made
sure there would be no fourth-quarter magic for the Los Angeles
With the Lakers trailing
by a dozen and 7:14 remaining, the world's best fourth-quarter
player was in a most incredible spot. On the bench.
Kobe Bryant received
three liters of intravenous fluid before Monday night's game,
the last as his Laker teammates warmed up for Game 2 of the Western
Conference finals at Arco Arena, because of what medical personnel
suspect was food poisoning.
He scored, but he
stumbled. He was terrific, then tepid, then just plain tired.
When the fourth quarter
finally showed up, he didn't.
And when the Lakers
had a chance to essentially finish the Western Conference finals
after two games, they couldn't.
O'Neal wound up with
35, missing eight of his 12 shots in the second half. Divac wound
up with 15 points and 14 rebounds and the Kings survived to fight
They know that if
they you can't win one home game out of two and capitalize on
a sick Kobe Bryant and a derailed Shaquille O'Neal, then they
really have no business being in the Western Conference finals.
The Kings did what
they had to do. They beat the Lakers, 96-90, and evened the series
at 1-1. They ensured themselves another home game, Game 5, but
don't be convinced that they'll get back to L.A. for a Game 6.
Bryant and O'Neal came up smaller than usual in the second half,
no other Lakers filled the gaps and yet they still entertained
thoughts of sending this game into overtime during the final seconds.
Chris Webber had
21 points and 13 rebounds and Bibby had seven of his 20 points
in the final period.
Bryant started the
game and was sharp early, scoring nine points in the opening quarter
as the Lakers took a 26-25 advantage. But he began the second
quarter on the bench, and the Kings opened the period on an 8-0
run, prompting Phil Jackson to re-insert the All-Star guard. O'Neal
then took over, scoring 15 of his team's next 17 points to take
a 43-42 edge.
After Bryant hit
a jumper to give the Lakers a 50-47 advantage, Hedo Turkoglu,
starting once again for the injured Peja Stojakovic, made a jump
shot -- his first basket of the series -- and followed his own
missed free throw with an off-balance jumper to give the Kings
the lead for good, 51-50, with 27 seconds left in the half. Divac
then sank 1-of-2 free throws to make it 52-50 entering halftime.
Neither team shot
well from the line. The Lakers made 15-of-25, including just 5-of-11
from O'Neal, and the Kings converted 23-of-38. Webber had an abysmal
night at the stripe, connecting on only 2-of-11 attempts.
Doug Christie made
a free throw to give the Kings their largest advantage, 89-74,
with 6:46 remaining to play, the Lakers chipped away, climbing
within 89-82 on a pair of free throws by Rick Fox with 3:39 left.
But Bibby countered
with a 3-pointer over Kobe Bryant as the shot clock was winding
down with 2:51 to go to restore the Kings' double-digit edge.
Kobe hit a three-pointer
to bring the Lakers to within three with 12.5 seconds remaining,
but then the shot that could bring them to within one point in
the final moments was taken (and missed) by Rick Fox. It was the
shot Jackson wanted, they needed a quick shot and Kobe wasn't
in good shape.
Bryant: "Next time I order a cheeseburger, I'm going
Divac (Sac): "What I do? (about Shaq) Just hope he's
gonna miss. I can't push him out. You see that play they run from
out of bounds when he goes in the middle? When timeout is over,
I'm running to get there before him because if he gets there before
me, then I'm done."
Bryant: "In certain spurts I had a lot of energy, and
in some I didn't, I just tried to pace myself for 3 quarters and
then hopefully we'd get within striking distance, and then (with)
the energy I saved up, I'd be able to put it all out when the
game is one the line. But unfortunately we weren't able to get
it to that point."
(LAL) 35 pts 12 reb
Kobe (LAL) 22 pts 6 reb
Horry (LAL) 8 pts 20 reb
Chris Webber (Sac) 21 pts 13 reb 5 assist
Vlade Divac (Sac) 15 pts 14 reb
Back to the top
3: Lakers 90 - Kings 103
woke up too late.
LOS ANGELES. Behind the daring Mike Bibby and the jump-shooting
Chris Webber, who combined for 50 points, the Kings built leads
of 17 points in the first quarter, 21 in the second and 24 in
the third and 27 in the fourth before the Lakers found their jump
Still suffering from
the last drops of food poisoning, Bryant scored two points in
the first half and 20 in the second. Shaquille O'Neal scored 20
points and, like everyone else, was overrun by the Kings early,
and too far behind late. The home-court advantage the Lakers wrested
away with a Game 1 victory was lost in an end-to-end game dictated
by the Kings.
Chris Webber had
26 points and nine rebounds and Mike Bibby scored 24 points as
the Kings rolled to a 103-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers
in Game Three of the Western Conference finals.
Sacramento was winless
in five previous postseason trips to the Staples Center but needed
a win in Los Angeles to reclaim home-court advantage in the best-of-seven
series. The Kings played with purpose from the opening tip and
withstood a remarkable run by the Lakers in the fourth quarter
to take a 2-1 lead.
The Kings improved
to 5-0 on the road in the postseason with the franchise's first
playoff victory in Los Angeles.
Sacramento took control
with a 23-6 run bridging the first two quarters. Hedo Turkoglu
scored half of his 14 points during the burst, which gave the
Kings a 36-15 cushion early in the second period.
Los Angeles pulled
within 52-40 at halftime but managed a playoff-low 12 points in
the third quarter.
The Kings led by
as many as 27 early in the final period, but the Lakers employed
a full-court press and rallied behind Kobe Bryant, who scored
16 points in the final 9 1/2 minutes.
After Webber buried
1-of-2 free throws with eight minutes to go (87-60), the Lakers
went to the press and forced four consecutive turnovers as the
Kings failed to get the ball past half-court.
Los Angeles scored
14 straight points in 52 seconds and pulled within 87-75 on Bryant's
second 3-pointer of the surge with 7:08 remaining.
with a jumper over Shaquille O'Neal and Bibby followed with a
driving layup around the intimidating center to stretch the lead
a four-point play at 3:45 and Lindsey Hunter nailed a jumper 42
seconds later to get Los Angeles within 98-87, the closest margin
since the game's first 10 minutes.
But Bibby answered
with a driving layup and fed Webber for an alley-oop dunk with
62 seconds left to seal the victory.
The Kings shot 49
percent (38-of-77) from the floor to overcome 19 turnovers. And
six players scored at least 11 points
Christie added 17 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Sacramento,
which again played without injured All-Star guard Peja Stojakovic.
Los Angeles, which
complained about the disparity in fouls
in the first two games, went to the line just 15 times on its
home floor while Sacramento made 21-of-35 free throws.
The Lakers shot only
36 percent (36-of-101) from the floor and made 10-of-31 3-pointers,
including eight in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers were booed
at 42-23. They were booed at 63-42. Booed at 83-56. And there
were desperation cheers near the end, when the Lakers scored 38
Phil Jackson, in
a solemn gray suit, sat quietly for most of the game. In the blowout,
he let Bryant, who is recovering from the bad cheeseburger, and
O'Neal, who has bad feet, play 40 minutes each. He was pleased
the Kings were forced to work for their victory at the end, and
that they played only seven players, Scot Pollard for only seven
Bryant: "Well, we're not bored now."
O'Neal: "We got into a hole and we could really not get
out of it, we started late to try and pick it up"
(LAL) 20 pts 19 reb 4 assist
Kobe (LAL) 22 pts 2 block
Lindsey Hunter (LAL) 14 pts
Chris Webber (Sac) 26 pts 9 reb 6 assist
Mike Bibby (Sac) 24 pts 5 assist
Doug Christie (Sac) 17 pts 12 reb 6assist
Back to the top
4: Lakers 100 - Kings 99
alive after all this time.
LOS ANGELES. With the Los Angeles Lakers down by two points with
a second left, Robert Horry knew his place. What he didn't know
was how he was going to get his hands on the ball.
Teammates Kobe Bryant
and Shaquille O'Neal missed their shots, and Sacramento Kings
center Vlade Divac tipped a rebound blindly away from the basket.
Then came something
right out of the movies: The ball headed straight for Horry, who
grabbed it for a 3-pointer as time expired and rallied the Lakers
from a 24-point deficit to a 100-99 victory Sunday.
Horry scored 11 of
his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers willed themselves
to an amazing victory in a game they badly needed to keep their
championship hopes alive. They made it as dramatic as possible,
falling behind as the Kings played an outstanding first half.
to its second spectacular start at Staples Center, scoring 40
points in the first quarter and taking a 14-point lead to halftime.
But the Kings fumbled through the second half, and Divac missed
a free throw with 11.8 seconds left.
The victory came
one day after New Jersey's unprecedented fourth-quarter playoff
collapse against Boston in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
After taking a 21-point lead into the final quarter, the Nets
were outscored 41-16 in the fourth and lost 94-90. The Celtics
lead that series 2-1.
playing without injured All-Star Peja Stojakovic, had an impressive,
free-flowing first half in which they led 50-26 at one point.
Bibby hit 8-of-11
shots in that half, but Samaki Walker's desperation 3-pointer
-- which he released after the buzzer -- cut the lead to 65-51
If there was any
question Jackson is loathe to answer an alarm until the last possible
minute, he proved it Sunday afternoon. It wasn't until the beginning
of the third quarter that he assigned Kobe Bryant to check Mike
Bibby all 94 feet, thereby wresting control of the game. Kobe
shut down Mike Bibby. Bibby, Pre-Kobe: 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting.
Post-Kobe: three points, 1 of 5 shooting.
But Jackson's reluctance
meant the Lakers needed every nano-second of the second half to
pull this one out.
The Kings had their
lead cut to 80-73 entering the final period. Horry made two free
throws and a 3-pointer that made it 88-84 with 6:31 to go, and
another 3-pointer answered a jumper by Turkoglu and pulled LA
within 96-93 with 1:39 left.
Divac sank a long
jumper with 1:17 to play, but Bryant threw in a floater in the
lane. After Christie missed an open 3-pointer with 39 seconds
to go, O'Neal drew a foul and made two free throws with 26 seconds
left. He was 9-of-13 from the line, including 5-of-6 in the final
the next possession, Vlade Divac was fouled intentionally, and
he hit the front of the rim with the first one, then made the
After that, luck
put the ball in Robert Horry's hands. Championship experience
took over from there.
The Lakers had 25
offensive rebounds, three short of the franchise playoff record,
seven in the fourth quarter.
It wasn't Horry's
first time as a long-distance postseason hero. Horry is a member
of four NBA championship teams. While with Houston, he matched
the NBA Finals record with five 3-pointers in a quarter. Over
the last two years with Los Angeles, he has made a game-clinching
3-pointer in four straight series.
In Game 3 of last
season's NBA Finals, his 3-pointer with 47 seconds left finished
off Philadelphia. Earlier this year, at Portland, he hit a decisive
3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left. In the conference semifinals
against San Antonio, Horry's 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining
gave the Lakers a seven-point cushion as they finished off the
O'Neal: "It was a blessed day for us. Thank God for Robert.
Thank God his father met his mother, too."
Horry: "You cannot think in a situation like that. A
lot of guys, when the ball is coming, sit there and look at the
clock, then it makes you rush your shot. I was like, `If I don't
get it off in time, we lose. If I do, it's money.' I was just
worried about getting my form and getting my money shot down."
Jackson: "That was an incredible finish. And I didn't
draw it up like that, so don't ask me."
Divac: "Just a lucky shot."
Fox: "That's got to be disappointing for those people.
They had to think they had a win, which would have put them in
the driver's seat. But the way we won it, we kind of kicked them
out of the car."
(LAL) 27 pts 18 reb 3 block
Kobe (LAL) 25 pts 3 block
Robert Horry (LAL) 18 pts 14 reb 5 assist
Vlade Divac (Sac) 23 pts 7 reb
Chris Webber (Sac) 20 pts 6 reb 5 assist
Mike Bibby (Sac) 21 pts 4 assist
Hidayet Turkoglu (Sac) 18 pts 12 reb
Back to the top
5: Lakers 91 - Kings 92
referees swallowed the whistles.
SACRAMENTO. Kobe Bryant missed his shot, after Mike Bibby had
made his seconds earlier (after Chris Webber appeared to knock
a ball out of bounds) and the Sacramento Kings had a 92-91 victory
in a game that was every bit as tense and dramatic as expected.
But the NBA has a
serious problem because the officiating is too unpredictable.
Like it was throughout the game, like it was in that final play.
Bryant had the ball on the right side, isolated against Bobby
Jackson. He made his move, he and Jackson bumped and both lost
their balance. Jackson grabbed Bryant's jersey as he stumbled
backward, Bryant went to recover the ball and then launched a
jump shot that missed. You can't pull a guy's shirt off and it
not be a foul.
Some games this kind
of decisions favors the Lakers, but Tuesday night it pushed them
to the edge of elimination.
It's also a problem
when Shaquille O'Neal is turned into a timid kitten, hesitant
to move toward the basket on offense or attack the ball on defense
because he doesn't know if he will be called for a foul.
He was called for
six fouls on Tuesday night, sending him to the bench for good
with 3:22 left in the game. O'Neal easily committed six fouls
in the game, but not necessarily on all the occasions the officials
There's no way to
tell what they're going to call and what they aren't going to
call, and never are they more inconsistent than when O'Neal is
The Kings, who lead
the best-of-seven Western Conference finals, three games to two,
are a victory from their first NBA Finals in 51 years, when the
franchise was based in Rochester.
The Lakers haven't
faced a playoff elimination game since the 2000 conference finals,
when they memorably rallied from a 15-point deficit in the fourth
quarter to beat Portland in Game 7.
Bibby scored 23 points
and Webber had 29. The Kings scored the final four points, from
a 91-88 deficit, and Bryant missed his last four shots and seven
of his final eight.
of All-Star Peja Stojakovic, who missed six games with a sprained
ankle, didn't help the Kings much. Rick Fox, who struggled in
the series' previous two games, held Stojakovic
to two points while scoring 16.
The only constant
in this series has been outstanding, pressure-free play by the
visiting teams early in every game. Los Angeles shot 65 percent
in the first quarter Tuesday night, moving the ball to create
open shots with a fluidity they never showed at home over the
After rallying in
the second quarter, Sacramento had a 10-point lead in the third,
but O'Neal and Bryant erased it with their customary flair. The
game stayed tight throughout the fourth, and O'Neal made his final
eight shots before fouling out.
Bryant scored 30
points but made just 11-of-29 shots while committing five turnovers
and five fouls. O'Neal scored 28 points on 14-of-18 shooting.
Once again, they carried the offense for Los Angeles and got very
Bryant : "You guys saw the replay. There's no need for
me to comment on that. It's irrelevant at this point."
Jackson (Sac): "I was thinking, 'Please miss. Please,
please miss.' He's a great player. He doesn't miss many shots.''
(LAL) 30 pts 5 reb
Shaq (LAL) 28 pts 7reb 2 block
Rick Fox (LAL) 16 pts 6 reb
Vlade Divac (Sac) 13 pts 7 reb
Chris Webber (Sac) 29 pts 13 reb
Mike Bibby (Sac) 23 pts 4 reb
Back to the top
6: Lakers 106 - Kings 102
7 is necessary
ANGELES. The Lakers, down a game and facing elimination along
with the end of their three-peat desires, defeated the Sacramento
Kings, 106-102, Friday night at Staples Center, forcing one last
game in the Western Conference finals. It will be played at Arco
Arena on Sunday afternoon.
O'Neal scored 41
points and took 17 rebounds. Bryant scored 31 points. He shot
11 free throws, seven of them in the fourth quarter, and made
them all. The Lakers scored 16 of their final 18 points from the
free-throw line, all in the final quarter.
Shaq and Kobe combined
for 72 points and 45 shots, and scored 23 of the Lakers' 31 fourth-quarter
points, when the Kings scored 27. As usual, the Kings were more
balanced, with six players in double figures. Chris Webber scored
26 points and Bibby scored 23, but Bibby was seven for 20 from
With everything from
savage dunks and delicate hook shots to a string of 10 straight
free throws, O'Neal wouldn't allow this epic playoff series to
end early. He went 13-for-17 from the line, not a remarkable feat
for most players, but an indication of just how seriously O'Neal
took this game.
Now, this series
will end appropriately: With the champs matched against the NBA's
best regular-season team in a winner-take-all game on Sunday.
The winner of Game
7 at Arco Arena will play host to the New Jersey Nets, winners
of the Eastern Conference, in Game 1 of
the Finals on Wednesday night.
Los Angeles went
nearly six minutes without a field goal down the stretch in the
fourth quarter, but made 18 free throws over the final 6:21 to
hold off the Kings. Bryant made four free throws in the final
dominance, Los Angeles' hope of a third straight title probably
would have died against another aggressive, uptempo effort by
the Kings. Chris Webber had an outstanding game, finishing with
26 points and 13 rebounds.
But O'Neal was relentless
in a performance fitting for the dominant big man of his era.
He scored 21 points in the first half, then didn't come out of
the game in the second half despite his assortment of injuries.
The Kings, knew all
along they didn't have an answer for O'Neal. Kings big men Scot
Pollard and Vlade Divac both fouled out, and Sacramento was forced
to use Lawrence Funderburke in the fourth quarter.
While winning three
of the previous four games in the series, Sacramento used foul
trouble and big early leads to wear down O'Neal and his arthritic
toe before crunch time; in Game 6, O'Neal didn't appear the least
bit tired or injured. Shaq also got nearly every call that didn't
go his way in Sacramento.
Sacramento led at
halftime for the third straight time at Staples Center, where
the Kings won just once in 11 games until this series. Shaquille
scored his 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting to keep the Lakers ahead,
but Sacramento closed the half with 10 straight points. Divac's
buzzer-beating 3-pointer - from the exact spot where Horry won
Game 4 for the Lakers - gave the Kings a 56-51 halftime lead,
but they never got into a flow in a choppy second half, and the
Lakers held them off.
Los Angeles nursed
a narrow lead for most of the fourth quarter, with O'Neal and
Bryant taking nearly every shot.
said Bryant had called him 2:30am Friday morning: "Big
fella," Bryant told him, "need you tomorrow. We'll make
O'Neal (LAL): "You have to foul me to stop me. Period."
(about the 40 free throws the Lakers shot)
(LAL) 41 pts 17 reb
Kobe (LAL) 31 pts 11 reb
Chris Webber (Sac) 26 pts
Mike Bibby (Sac) 23 pts
Back to the top
7: Lakers 112 - Kings 106
arrived to the finals just five minutes late.
SACRAMENTO .The Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings, 112-106,
in overtime Sunday night at Arco Arena, won the Western Conference
finals in seven games and will play the New Jersey Nets in a best-of-seven
series beginning Wednesday night at Staples Center.
O'Neal and Bryant
showed that they have the determination to match their talent.
Both played to the point of exhaustion, with O'Neal collecting
35 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in 50 minutes and Bryant
added 30, 10 and seven assists while sitting just scant seconds
in the second quarter.
The superstars got
some help, too. Starters Fox, Robert Horry and Derek Fisher --
all part of the Lakers' last two title teams -- each scored in
When it appeared
these Lakers would not leave the wake they did in their previous
two championship seasons, they became the first Laker team to
win a Game 7 on the road, in the first overtime Game 7 ever played
in the conference finals.
They'll play the
Nets to become the fifth team to win at least three consecutive
It was, as it turned
out, still about the Lakers, still about what they do to the NBA,
not what it does to them. Down, three games to two, in the series,
the Lakers won the next two games, both behind a resurgent O'Neal.
The Kings were, perhaps, the best team they'd seen in their 11
consecutive postseason series.
The Lakers scored
the final eight points of overtime, on a short turn-around jumper
and then two free throws each by O'Neal, Derek Fisher and Bryant.
From a 106-104 lead,
the Kings missed five shots and committed two turnovers, the first
when Hedo Turkoglu forced a pass that Bryant poked away from Chris
Webber, the second when Robert Horry deflected another pass. Already
the Kings had missed 14 of 30 free-throw attempts, could not hold
a one-point lead with 38 seconds left in regulation or a two-point
lead with two minutes left in the overtime.
And then one of the
greatand longestseries in NBA history was done, and
Bryant fell into O'Neal's arms. He had played 52 minutes, equaling
his career high. O'Neal played 51.
Bryant found Mike
Bibby, who all but wrecked them all for 16 days, and held him
too, and whispered what a wonderful player he was, and told Bibby
that he knew what made him take big shots, and make big shots,
in the biggest moments.
Bibby scored 29 points,
four in the overtime, 12 in the fourth quarter. With 2:58 left,
Bibby made an open jumper from about 19 feet. He brought the Kings
to within 91-90. Coach Phil Jackson stormed from the Laker bench
and shouted for a timeout and then screamed at his players twice.
Bryant threw a towel
at the bench, and Horry and Jackson stood tensely for a moment
on the floor, Jackson punctuating his words by pointing to the
spot where Bibby made his shot, Horry doing the same. He had that
effect on them, until he was gone.
Horry, who had made
the game-winning three-pointer in Game 4 and had 16 points and
12 rebounds here, stood at mid-court and fired a salute into the
crowd, his smile as crooked as his gait.
Fox, who had called
out the Kings in the days before the series, pulled his jersey
over his head and whipped it in the air. He had a playoff career-high
14 rebounds, and was aggressive to the basket on a few late possessions
when the Lakers leaned toward timid.
Fisher, who had a
difficult series defending Bibby and shooting, made all four of
his free throws in overtime.
If the Kings gave
an early clue that the pressure was getting to them, it came midway
through the first quarter after Bryant drove past everybody for
Bibby missed a reverse
layup, Divac clanged a jumper, Turkoglu and Divac each missed
a pair from the line and Bibby missed another jump shot. The Lakers
capitalized on the cold spell to take a 20-13 lead on a 3-pointer
by Fox -- his only basket of the first half.
Bryant had a dozen
points in the second quarter and O'Neal had 11, keeping the Lakers
within range as the Kings played from ahead for most of the quarter.
The game stayed tight though the third quarter, with Bibby drawing
O'Neal's third foul on a reach-in
with 2.4 seconds left. He made one of two from the line to give
the Kings a 74-73 edge heading into the fourth.
Webber drew a technical
foul less than two minutes into the fourth for complaining about
a non-call, then missed his next two shots before making a dunk
to cut the Kings deficit to 87-86 with 5:13 left.
In the final two
minutes of regulation, the lead changed hands four times. Bibby
made a jumper for a 94-93 lead, and then Horry made a three-pointer
from the top for a 96-94 lead.
Vlade Divac made
a put-back of a Turkoglu miss for a 96-96 tie, and then Bryant
made one of two free-throw attempts with 46.3 seconds left, for
a 97-96 lead. Divac fouled out on a loose-ball scramble, sending
Bryant to the line, forcing the Kings to defend O'Neal with Webber
for however long it would take to determine a winner.
Bibby then made a
20-footer, even as O'Neal and Bryant charged at him, for a one-point
King lead, and Bryant made two free throws for a Laker lead. O'Neal
made one free throw and Bibby made two, tying the score at 100,
giving the ball to the Lakers with 8.2 seconds left.
O'Neal missed a 14-footer
and Bryant and Horry both missed taps around the rim before the
Jackson hasn't lost
a playoff series since the Eastern Conference semifinals in 1995
against O'Neal and the Orlando Magic.
O'Neal: "They felt it was their time, it was not their
Fox: "Is he a free agent?" he asked, laughing. "Can
we get him? Dr. Buss, can we spend the money? That cat is good."
(about Mike Bibby)
of the best quotes of the series came from Kobe Bryant,
who said he would not be eating in Sacramento prior to Game 7.
"All those cows up there and I couldn't get a decent burger?''
asked Bryant, who came down with food poisoning after eating a
bad burger prior to Game 2
35 pts 13 reb 4 blocks
Kobe 30 pts 10 reb 7 assist 2 steals
Rick Fox 13 pts 14 reb 7 assist
Robert Horry 16 pts 12 reb 5 assist
Fisher 13 pts
Webber (Sac) 20 pts 8 reb 11 assist
Bibby (Sac) 29 pts 5 reb 4 assist
Divac (Sac) 15 pts 10 reb