Be like Mike
Pippen accuses Kobe of faking rib injury
Updated: Friday April 27, 2001 11:00 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Shaq's ticked at the "whining and crying" the Portland Trail Blazers are doing, and Kobe feels dissed, although he's far less outspoken than his teammate.
"It should make for a good Game 2," was Blazers head coach Mike Dunleavy's reaction Wednesday.
The defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers will have plenty of incentive other than the obvious Thursday night at Staples Center when they go for a 2-0 lead in their first-round, best-of-five series against Portland.
Maybe that's what the Blazers have had in mind.
"I'll be ready for tomorrow night, don't you worry," Shaquille O'Neal said. "I'm not really angry; I just feed off things like this. I love it when people talk. As an athlete, I'd rather just beat somebody than cry. I'm a man; I want to play man's basketball.
"When I'm upset, I dominate."
Simply put, O'Neal believes the Blazers should just stop talking and play. Dunleavy and some of his players complained after a 106-93 loss in the opener Sunday that O'Neal got away with camping in the lane and generally pushing them around, and the complaints continued during the days that followed.
Portland reserve Dale Davis, who fouled out in only nine minutes trying to guard O'Neal, was fined $7,500 by the NBA on Wednesday for verbally abusing the officials during the game.
Davis said he was "pretty shocked" by the fine, and planned to appeal.
As far as the crying and whining accusations by O'Neal, Davis smiled and said: "That's fine. We've been accused of worse."
Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant reacted calmly to comments by Portland's Scottie Pippen, who questioned whether Bryant really suffered a bruised rib in the first half of Game 1.
Bryant, guarded most of the time by Pippen, left the court for some four minutes and was treated in the locker room after being accidentally elbowed by Rasheed Wallace. Bryant scored 25 of his 28 points in the second half.
"He's got bruised ribs? Which side? Aww, he's trying to be like Mike," Pippen said, referring to former teammate Michael Jordan's effort in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against Utah, when he scored 38 points for the Chicago Bulls despite battling the flu.
"He wanted to come out and have a heroic performance after saying he had bruised ribs," Pippen said. "It didn't look like he had bruised ribs. He didn't find a shot he didn't like. He wasn't hurt that bad."
Bryant, who has often expressed deep respect for Pippen, admitted he was disappointed by the remarks, but said he realized his opponent was probably just trying to get into his head.
"I've respected Scottie so much, I've looked up to him when I was honing my basketball skills," Bryant said. "Scottie has six rings; he's a champion. It's a little disappointing, but I've got a job to do."
Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said he believed anything between the two, at least as far as Pippen is concerned, dates to when Pippen played for Houston two years ago and the Lakers beat the Rockets in a first-round series.
Bryant generally got the better of his more experienced opponent at that time.
"I enjoy playing against Scottie so much," Bryant said. "Back then, I looked at it as a challenge and an opportunity to prove myself against one of the best players of all time."
When asked if he might say anything to Pippen, Bryant replied: "Like what? We expected them to say something to throw us off our game."
Bryant said he felt better Wednesday.
"Yesterday, I had a big pad. It limited my movement," he said. "Today, I have a smaller pad."
When asked if he expected Pippen to go after his ribs, Bryant laughed and said, "Probably. I would."'
Pippen didn't speak to reporters Wednesday after the Blazers practiced.
"He's just trying to get Kobe off his game, get a little edge, that's all," Lakers forward Robert Horry said of Pippen's remarks. "It's all about talking stuff, get a response from Kobe. I know his ribs are hurt."
Dunleavy wouldn't be specific about adjustments his team has
made, but said: "Everything they're doing, we have pretty much of
an answer, I think. Hopefully, that can turn into a win for us."