Work in Sports
Suns extend series with 117-98 rout of Lakers
Posted: Monday May 15, 2000 01:40 AM
PHOENIX (AP) -- Was that the Lakers, or the other team from Los Angeles?
Jason Kidd was at his best, Cliff Robinson buried his reputation as a playoff no-show and the Lakers looked nothing like the NBA's powerhouse Sunday as the Phoenix Suns stayed alive in the Western Conference semifinals with a 117-98 rout of Shaq & Co.
The Lakers hadn't given up this many points all season.
"A team like ours that's built on defense, it's pretty ridiculous," Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said.
Shaquille O'Neal wouldn't talk to reporters, and coach Phil Jackson said only two sentences in the postgame news conference, using coarse language to describe his team's performance, but still offering Mother's Day wishes.
"We got a royal ass-whipping out there," Jackson said. "I really have nothing to say, no questions to answer, except happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there."
Kidd had his first playoff triple-double, and Robinson, who nearly sat out the game after spraining his right ankle in Game 3, scored a career playoff-high 32 points.
"I felt like I could push the ball," Kidd said, "and my legs felt good. My ankle's not bothering me, and the shot was dropping. I was more aggressive, and for that, we got a lot of wide-open looks, and we knocked them down."
Kidd, who has 31 career regular-season triple-doubles, had 22 points, a career playoff-high 16 assists and 10 rebounds.
"He was phenomenal," Suns coach Scott Skiles said. "He was all over the court, pushing the ball, making great decisions. He had 12 assists at halftime. Anybody who was open, he got them the ball, and he knocked down his shots. He looked like Jason Kidd."
Rodney Rogers added 17 points and Penny Hardaway had 16 for the Suns, who beat the Lakers for the first time in eight tries.
The Lakers still are up 3-1 and can clinch the best-of-seven series with a victory at home Tuesday night, but this was an ugly Sunday for them.
"When good teams lose, they get angry," Hardaway said. "They didn't want to give us one lick of credit so they just started the Rick Fox thing and then the timeouts. That's just total disrespect for us. If they felt we had beat them, they wouldn't do that."
Phoenix led by 23 points at halftime and by 29 in the third quarter.
O'Neal, in foul trouble most of the game, scored 24 points, eight below his playoff average, and was 4-for-12 from the free throw line, 1-for-9 in the first half. Bryant scored 23 points for Los Angeles and Glen Rice added 15.
"We don't look at them as this dominating defensive team," Hardaway said. "I mean, we've been getting to the basket all series long. That hasn't been the problem. The problem has just been stopping Shaquille in the middle. Today we did a better job of that. He didn't have 37, and we won."
O'Neal drew his fourth and fifth fouls in a nine-second span and went to the bench with 4:07 left in the third quarter.
He returned in the fourth quarter and capped a 10-1 run with a stuff to cut the lead to 101-85 with 6:47 to play, the closest Los Angeles came to a rally all day. But Kidd and Robinson returned, Rogers scored twice, and any doubt about the outcome was over.
Kidd, playing with two screws in the left ankle he broke on March 22, had been shooting 29 percent in the series and was 1-for-9 in Phoenix's 105-99 loss in Game 3 on Friday night.
This time, he was 8-for-13 from the field and made four of six 3-pointers. In one 37-second stretch, he had a rebound, an assist, a steal and a 3-pointer to give Phoenix its biggest lead, 89-60, with 4:25 left in the third.
Phoenix led 71-48 at halftime, the most points scored against Los Angeles in a half and tied for the most scored by Phoenix in a half all season.
"That's one of those nightmares, man," Rice said. "We're a very capable team. Something like that should never happen. We've just got to hope it never does again."
Robinson said he came close to not playing because of his sore ankle.
"Very close," he said, "but at the same time, I made the decision before the game that I was going to give it a go."
Robinson had 23 points in the first half, including going 3-of-5 from 3-point range. His previous career playoff-high of 30 came in Game 2.
"People have said that he's never shown up in the playoffs," Kidd said, "but hopefully these last two series have quieted his critics. I think the older Cliff gets, the better he gets. He's like wine."
The Lakers are 1-3 on the road in the playoffs.
"It's good that we have the confidence we have to play at home," Bryant said. "But at the same time you have to enjoy killing teams. I don't know if we as a whole really enjoy watching teams bleed.
"The good thing about it is they have to come back to L.A. No matter what they do, they've still got to come back to the City of Angels, where we're very comfortable."
Notes: The Suns' 38 points in the first quarter were their most in
the 2000 playoffs by six. ... In the first quarter, the Suns'
backcourt of Kidd and Hardaway combined for 17 points and 11
assists. Kidd had 10 points and eight assists. ... The Lakers
haven't swept a playoff series since 1991 and haven't swept a
seven-game series since 1989. ... The previous most points given up
by Los Angeles in a half was 66 at Washington on Dec. 14 and in a
game was 114 at Sacramento on April 14. ... The entire Lakers' team
had 12 assists in the first half, the same as Kidd.