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Notebook: Game 3

Rice cools on Lakers' bench

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Posted: Sunday June 11, 2000 11:24 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Glen Rice found out it's hard to be a team's second option on offense while you're sitting on the bench.

Rice, the Los Angeles Lakers' third-leading scorer during the regular season, scored just seven points -- none in the second half -- in 27 minutes of play during the Lakers' 100-91 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night.

Instead of making up for the absence of Kobe Bryant, Rice was shut down by Indiana's defenders early and by coach Phil Jackson late, who used Robert Horry and Rick Fox in his place.

"I never really got into the offensive flow," Rice said. "We had poor execution, and once I went to the bench, I never got back in it."

After playing the entire first quarter, Rice got just four minutes in the second quarter but hit a 3-pointer in the final second to cut Indiana's halftime lead to 53-42.

But Rice went scoreless in the second half, missing all four of his shots. He played just two minutes in the fourth quarter.

"I thought they bodied Glen well off of any screens we tried to provide for him," Jackson said. "He caught the ball, (but) he was crowded and pushed. ... They identified Glen very well, and I thought they prevented him from getting good looks."

Rice had 21 points in Game 2 after Bryant sprained his left ankle.

"We didn't get too many chances tonight," Rice said. "It just wasn't there for us like it was in the first two games - not just me, but everybody."

League downpgrades Shaq's 'flagrant' foul

Thanks to a little lobbying by the Los Angeles Lakers, an apparent bad call against Shaquille O'Neal in Game 2 of the NBA Finals was fixed two days later.

On Sunday, the NBA downgraded a flagrant foul called against O'Neal to a personal foul, keeping the center on safe ground in the league's discipline system of graduated points for violent fouls.

With 6:40 left in the fourth quarter of Los Angeles' 111-104 victory in Game 2 on Friday night, O'Neal was called for a flagrant foul against Indiana's Travis Best by referee Eddie F. Rush.

Most observers of videotape replays at Staples Center not only thought the foul wasn't especially flagrant, but that O'Neal blocked Best's shot cleanly and didn't commit any foul.

Rush's whistle may have been especially quick because of a play moments earlier, when Best helped knock O'Neal onto his stomach under the Lakers' basket.

O'Neal shot an NBA-record 39 free throws in the game. Afterward, he complained about the call and hinted there was a double standard on fouls committed against him.

Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said he asked Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak to call the league and request a review. After watching the videotape, newly appointed NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson downgraded the foul to a personal foul.

In the playoffs, a player is suspended for one game after accumulating three flagrant-foul points, with one point charged for each flagrant foul.

"There was the potential for a situation arising there," Jackson said. "Although [league officials] were on the move yesterday, too, they were willing to address it."

Singin' in the rain

Intermittent rain showers and a thick coat of humidity couldn't dampen the spirits of Pacers fans on the streets around Conseco Fieldhouse before Sunday's Game 3, the first home Finals game in franchise history.

A band at the pep rally across the street from the arena was quieted when tarpaulins were draped over their musical instruments, but fans still milled about in Pacers gear and gathered to meet Indiana's dance squad.

Tickets were at a premium in Indianapolis. One scalper told a local television station he was offering $10,000 apiece to those holding tickets in the front rows -- but hadn't found any takers for his offer.

Inside the building, yellow towels were draped over every chair. The first 20,000 fans also received a T-shirt.

Crosswalks near the arena are painted blue and gold. The downtown canal is dyed blue, and the electronic signs on city buses read "Go Pacers."

Signs hang on the backs of the horse-drawn carriages that stroll around Monument Circle, and even downtown window-washers have stuck "Go Pacers" bumper stickers on the bottoms of their lifts.

Good citizen

The league named Philadelphia 76ers guard Eric Snow the winner of the annual NBA Sportsmanship Award on Sunday.

Snow won the Joe Dumars Trophy and a $25,000 award, which will be divided equally among Hartford Middle School in Canton, Ohio -- Snow's alma mater -- and Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia, where the 76ers' Aaron McKie was a student.

Snow received 45 of 121 votes from a panel of media members. Each NBA team nominated one player for the award. Past winners include Hersey Hawkins, Avery Johnson and Terrell Brandon.

Quote of the day

"There's no [chance] of 100 percent at some point, even on Wednesday. Realistically speaking, Kobe won't be 100 percent for a while." Jackson, on the sprained ankle that kept Bryant out of Game 3


 
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