Work in Sports
Pacers' Best hopes rest is the cure for his sore shoulder
Posted: Saturday June 17, 2000 10:26 PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- If Game 5 had been played a day earlier, Travis Best would have had to watch from the sideline.
Best separated his left shoulder while fouling Shaquille O'Neal in Game 4, and he didn't practice the day before the Indiana Pacers' 120-87 victory on Friday night, forcing Game 6 in Los Angeles on Monday night.
The Pacers' top reserve guard played just 10 minutes in Friday night's runaway Indiana win, making both of his shots and getting three assists.
He said his shoulder was too sore to play in the second half of Game 5, but with the Pacers up by 20 points, he didn't need to.
"I was pulling up a little bit on the jumper," Best said. "I was able to get it to go down, but I couldn't get that full extension."
Best was a spark off the bench for the Pacers in Games 3 and 4, and he has handily won his matchup with Los Angeles backup point guard, Derek Fisher. But Best struggled in the first two games at Staples Center, managing just 6 total points on 2-of-10 shooting.
He rested the shoulder again on Saturday and might not shoot on Sunday at the Lakers' practice gym in El Segundo. He figures rest will be the only way to heal in time for Game 6.
"Hopefully with a couple days' rest, it will be better," he said.
Phil's complaintHis team has now lost six potential closeout games during its 2000 playoff run, but it took Friday night's humiliating loss at Indiana to get Lakers coach Phil Jackson really angry.
Jackson had few kind words to say about his team after it was beaten by 33 points in a game that could have ended with a trophy presentation. Although he acknowledged the Pacers' excellent shooting as the primary reason for the defeat, he didn't allow that to be an excuse for the Lakers' dismal defense and rebounding.
"I don't like to think of a team that has championship quality in it that loses by 33 points," Jackson said. "We have something to prove to ourselves when we go back home in this regard."
Jackson has perhaps more experience than anyone with up-and-down winning teams. He won six championships in Chicago during the 1990s, but his Bulls often lived on the edge, relying on Michael Jordan to pull out dramatic victories.
In the 1998 NBA Finals, Jordan hit game-winning shots in the final minute of three of the Bulls' four victories over the Utah Jazz, including the title-clinching jumper in Game 6, the final game of his career.
Jackson thinks the Lakers still lack what Jordan had in abundance: a killer instinct.
"You try to get them sharp," he said. "You have to be precise and sharp. ... But the precision wasn't there, the execution wasn't there in what we do. That's where you've got to get back to some of the nuts and bolts of what you do as a basketball team."
ReboundsPower 106, Los Angeles' leading hip-hop radio station and a favorite of several Lakers players, greeted listeners on Saturday with an ad for "The world champion Los Angeles Lakers -- well, not yet, but soon!" ... Indiana outrebounded Los Angeles 46-34 in Game 5. The winning team in all five games of the series has had the rebounding edge. ... In Game 5, the Pacers shot better from 3-point range (50 percent) than the Lakers did from inside the 3-point line (45.1 percent). ... Rik Smits, the Pacers' offensive hero in Game 4, was again limited by foul trouble. He went 5-for-7 from the field but picked up five personal fouls in just 14 minutes.