MacCulloch gives Philly offensive lift with 13 points
After playing just two minutes Wednesday, the red-haired 7-footer went 16 minutes Friday night and mixed it up with Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal.
"I just tried to be aggressive, tried not to be intimidated," MacCulloch said. "He's going to get some of my shots, hopefully not all of them. My game has always been to try and score the ball. He definitely gets in the way, but I'm going to try to just keep going at him."
MacCulloch, a second-year pro out of Washington, also grabbed five rebounds.
The native of Canada averaged 3.1 points and 7.8 minutes in 14 of the 19 playoff games he was in before Friday.
Old Man Harper
No need to adjust your TV sets. That really was Lakers guard Ron Harper playing in the fourth quarter.
"I was a little surprised to see Harp," Kobe Bryant said. "I didn't recognize him at first."
The 37-year-old Harper scored five points in seven minutes. He hadn't played since logging eight minutes in one game of the Western Conference finals. In all, Harper has appeared sparingly in four playoff games.
"Old guys aren't supposed to score points. I found some big space and scored," he said. "I just go out and try to do something good."
Harper has been bothered most of the season by a sore left knee. He had surgery in March to remove bone chips and fragments of a partially torn meniscus.
Harper made two field goals. On one of them, "I just closed my eyes and prayed," he said.
"He got a couple of sneaky baskets," Bryant said. "I was happy to see him out there."
Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson got into an animated conversation with less than 30 seconds to play.
Teammate Derek Fisher pushed Bryant away from Iverson, and the referees walked into the middle of the jawing superstars before things broke up.
"He's doing whatever he has to do to inspire his team," Bryant said of Iverson. "Where I'm coming from, I don't care. We're the world champions. No matter how inspired your team may be, the championship has to come through the city of L.A."
Iverson downplayed the exchange.
"We just talking. Just basketball," he said. "We out there having fun."
Lakers forward Robert Horry chalked up the verbal sparring as "two East Coast guys getting into it."
Led by Shaquille O'Neal with eight, the Lakers blocked 13 shots to set an NBA Finals record for most in a game.
"When Shaq is a force on the defensive side, we're a good basketball team," guard Ron Harper said. "We played a good defensive style. We had our hands on balls."
Besides the eight blocks, O'Neal had 28 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists -- nearly a quadruple double, which has never been done in the NBA Finals. Only four players have ever turned the trick.
"Coach wanted me to protect the basket more,"' O'Neal said. "We felt they were getting too many easy shots in the first half, so I just tried to step my defense up in the second half."
Philadelphia center Dikembe Mutombo cut his tongue in the first half and received three stitches after the game.
Mutombo had to be replaced in the postgame interview room because he couldn't talk, a 76ers spokesman said.
Brown likes Snow
"The fact that Eric can guard just about anybody and still run the point is one of the reasons we've been successful," Brown said before Friday's game.
Brown said the 76ers needed a point guard who could defend bigger guards and run the offense, while allowing Allen Iverson to score.
Snow was a perfect fit.
"We felt off the ball it would be harder for people to play him and he might be more effective," Brown said, "so we needed a player like Eric. He's a very unselfish player and a tremendous competitor."
Snow is playing with a fracture in his right ankle sustained in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
"You see what he's gone through physically and he's still out there playing," Brown said. "It's a pretty incredible achievement."
Snow helped the 76ers win Game 1 in overtime Wednesday night on a running one-hander with 10.5 seconds left.
"Jud Heathcote used to make us practice those shots every day," said Snow, who played at Michigan State. He said the basket was the biggest of his pro career.
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal are trying to become the first teammates since 1961 to average 30 or more points through the playoffs.
Bryant is averaging 30.3 points and O'Neal 30.5.
They each helped their cause Friday night as Bryant scored 31 points and O'Neal 28.
The last duo to average 30 or more points were Lakers teammates Elgin Baylor (38.6) and Jerry West (31.5) in 1961.