Work in Sports
Bryant, Lakers soar past Sacramento
Posted: Saturday April 29, 2000 12:16 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers' playoff opener was Shaq's Show. Game 2 was Bryant's Time.
Kobe Bryant, seemingly improving with every game, scored 22 of his career playoff high 32 points in the first half Thursday night as the Lakers rolled to a 113-89 victory over the Sacramento Kings and a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Shaquille O'Neal, who had 46 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots in the Lakers' 117-107 victory in the opener, had 23 points, 19 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots in Game 2, and Glen Rice added 18 points.
"That had to be a disappointing game for Sacramento," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Kobe bailed us out in the first half, Shaq controlled the boards, we found a rhythm in the second half to finish things up.
"This puts us now, on serve, going to Sacramento."
Game 3 in the best-of-five series will be played Sunday at Arco Arena in Sacramento, where a fourth game will be played Tuesday night, if necessary.
The Lakers knew the Kings wouldn't give O'Neal room to score 46 points again.
"They were dropping in Shaq's lap, they were determined not to let him get the ball, they left our shooters open," Jackson said.
Bryant, who made 12-of-20 shots, including all three he attempted from 3-point range, certainly took advantage.
"They were sagging in on Shaq a lot, and on top of that I had a lot of gaps (in the open court)," Bryant said, adding it was probably his best playoff game. "Phil's goal was to hold them under 100 points. To hold them under 90 is a huge accomplishment. We should be proud of that."
The Kings averaged an NBA-leading 105 points during the regular season.
The Lakers took command by outscoring Sacramento 16-3 in the final seven minutes of the second quarter for a 56-41 halftime lead.
Kings coach Rick Adelman said the second period was the key.
"We had our moments, but we didn't sustain anything," he said. "To their credit, they shut us down. We haven't had trouble scoring points."
They certainly did in this game.
The Kings appeared thoroughly demoralized before the third quarter was over, and understandably so, considering the Lakers led by as many as 23 points before settling for an 83-64 lead entering the final period.
Chris Webber, who scored 28 points in 27 minutes before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter of the opener, avoided foul problems in Game 2 and shrugged off a bad start to get 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in 41 minutes.
It wasn't nearly enough.
Vlade Divac was the only other Sacramento player in double figures with 14 points.
"Kobe and Shaq are two great players -- a great one-two punch," Webber said. "We can only win one game at a time, so we'll just be looking for a win in our next game or there won't be another game afterwards. We have to raise our level and now we get the home court."
Webber finished with eight field goals in 28 attempts.
O'Neal, meanwhile, made 9-of-15 shots.
"I was just looking for open guys," he said. "This was a very easy game for me. On a given night, there are three players on this team who can take over a game."
The Kings were determined to do a better job of blocking out after the Lakers got 25 offensive rebounds in Game 1, but did poorly early.
The Lakers picked off four in one sequence, and had eight in the first seven minutes -- including four by O'Neal and three by A.C. Green -- to help them go ahead for good. In all, the Lakers had 14 offensive rebounds.
The Kings made their first four shots and were 7-of-11 at one stage, but trailed 21-15 mainly because they couldn't keep the Lakers off the offensive boards.
It was 35-24 entering the second quarter, and the Kings opened the period with a 14-5 run to draw within two points. At that stage, the Lakers turned up the intensity on defense in pulling away to their 15-point halftime lead.
Notes: Bryant's previous career playoff high was 28 points against San Antonio last May 19. He surpassed that when he made a three-point play with 3:01 left in the third quarter. He came out of the game for good with 8:48 remaining. ... The Kings were 26-of-35 and the Lakers 10-of-14 from the foul line in Game 1. In Game 2, the Lakers were 25-of-35 and the Kings were 16-of-20. ... Webber missed six of his first seven shots, including an uncontested dunk. He didn't come out of the game for the first time until 6:35 remained in the fourth quarter, when he left for good. ... O'Neal, a virtual lock to win his first Most Valuable Player award, was honored before the game as winner of the IBM award, which is determined by a computer rating that measures a player's overall contribution to a team.