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Lakers Turn Series Into a Bad Dream for Sleepy

May 08, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

The Lakers' game plan against Golden State is simple: Contain Warrior point guard Eric (Sleepy) Floyd.

And the Lakers made Floyd all but disappear Thursday night at the Forum.

Floyd missed the only shot he took in the first half as the Lakers built a 58-51 lead, then finished the game with 11 points and 12 assists. However, he never seemed to get into sync offensively as the Lakers defeated the Warriors, 116-101, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Floyd, who has been bothered by a hamstring injury, had a terrible shooting night, hitting just 3 of 11 shots.

"I think Byron (Scott) and Michael (Cooper) did a good job on him (Floyd)," Laker Coach Pat Riley said. "What we wanted to do was to contain him. We didn't want him to go crazy. We've got to take care of business with Sleepy and J.B. (Carroll)."

Floyd missed Golden State's practice Wednesday because of the hamstring injury. Asked how much it bothered him Thursday night, he said: "I can't really think about it (the injury). We lost the game, that's the bottom line.

"They (the Lakers) made a conscious effort to cut down my scoring. The shots weren't there, and I didn't want to force it.

"The Lakers played good, and I'm not going to make excuses."

However, Floyd's teammates said they think the hamstring injury is hurting Floyd's game.

Floyd led the Warriors in scoring (20.2 points), assists (10.0) and minutes played in their first- round playoff win over Utah.

However, he has averaged only 15 points a game against the Lakers and is shooting 41.7% in the series.

"He hasn't practiced in the last couple of days and he can't accelerate and penetrate. He's also slower getting back on defense," Warrior forward Larry Smith said. "They're throwing a lot of people at him to try to wear him down.

"I think we've got to help him out bringing the ball upcourt. He's played a lot of minutes this year."

Said Warrior guard Chris Mullin: "Michael Cooper is picking him up at the halfcourt line, and we've got to help him out because they're really pressuring him."

Said forward Purvis Short: "I think they're trying to wear down Sleepy. Our other guards and small forward have got to bring the ball upcourt. It's up to us to relieve him of his ball-handling responsibilities."

Floyd and Cooper had a verbal confrontation at the end of the third period.

What did Floyd say to Cooper?

"He was just telling me that I needed to bring my thermal underwear up to Oakland because it's going to be kind of cold up there," Cooper joked.

Asked what he said to Cooper, Floyd said: "No comment. A lot of words were spoken, and I'm not going to say what. It happened because of the competitiveness of the game and the respect we have for each other. All that wouldn't have happened if the respect wasn't there."

However, Warrior Coach George Karl refused to blame Floyd for his team's lackluster effort Thursday night.

"We played (bleep)," Karl said. "Sleepy is at 80%, but we've got to play him because we don't have a backup."

So, the Warriors are right back where they were seven days ago in their first-round series against Utah.

However, after losing the first two times on the road to the Jazz, the Warriors won three straight to win the series.

"The Lakers are a much better club than Utah," Golden State forward Greg Ballard said in an understatement.

"They're definitely a much more veteran group with a lot more experience than Utah."

Said Short: "The Lakers and Utah are two different teams. We can't rely on what happened to us against Utah to happen against the Lakers."

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