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'They Had Guys . . . Waiting for Me' : Floyd Says Lakers Played Great; He Is Rooting for Them

May 13, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

The Lakers put guard Eric (Sleepy) Floyd and the Golden State Warriors to bed Tuesday night.

Floyd, who exploded for 51 points, including a record 29 in the fourth period of the Warriors' 129-121 win over the Lakers Sunday, came back down to Earth as the Lakers eliminated the Warriors from the National Basketball Assn. playoffs, 118-106, at the Forum.

Floyd scored just 7 points in the first half and he finished with 18 points in 39 minutes. Floyd made 7 of 17 shots from the field and he hit all 4 of his free throws. He also had 11 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 6 turnovers.

Floyd, who drove the Lakers crazy with his twisting drives in the fourth period of Sunday's game, said the Laker defense harassed him Tuesday night.

"They had guys in the key just waiting for me," Floyd said. "I couldn't force the issue, so I just dished it off and set up my teammates. They made a conscious effort to cut down the key, and I tried to penetrate and pass off.

"The Lakers played great. I have to root for the Lakers (during the rest of the playoffs) because of James (Worthy)," said Floyd, who grew up with Worthy in Gastonia, N.C.

The rest of the Warriors will also be rooting for the Lakers to win the NBA title, despite the bad feelings between the clubs that came to a head in Tuesday night's game when Warrior forward Purvis Short and Laker guard Michael Cooper exchanged punches with 6:36 left in the second period.

Both Cooper and Short were assessed technical fouls.

"I was just trying to defend myself," Short said. "It was really just in the flow of the game. I don't remember exactly what happened. I don't think it was anything intentional. It happened and it's over with."

Warrior Coach George Karl raced off the bench to pull Short and Cooper apart.

"I was trying to get him (Cooper) thrown out of the game," Karl said. "He threw a punch and he should have been thrown out. Somebody said I said something to him, but I don't remember."

Karl also got a technical foul in the third period. Karl was upset because the officials had called only five fouls on the Lakers in the first half.

"I think the Lakers did a great job of playing defense. We had 64 shots in the first half and they only fouled us five times," Karl said.

But Karl shook hands with Laker Coach Pat Riley after the game and said he thinks the Lakers will win the NBA title.

"I don't see anybody playing any better than them," Karl said. "But that doesn't mean than aren't beatable. I don't think we played good the whole series."

Said forward Greg Ballard: "I think the Lakers could have been more professional in this series, with all the showboating they did. but I'll still be rooting for them."

The Lakers also did a good job of stopping Warrior center Joe Barry Carroll. Carroll scored just 10 points, hitting 4 of 16 shots from the floor in 28 minutes.

"I felt it made more sense to pass it out because I had two to three guys on me," Carroll said. "Most of the shots I got off were off broken plays. It's difficult to take shots with two and three people on you.

"I suppose later I'll feel good about what happened, but right now I'm disappointed. We weren't able to establish anything.

"It would have been nice to win down here and go back home (for a sixth game), but it just didn't happen.

"The party's over."

Said Warrior forward Larry Smith, who grabbed 23 rebounds, including 18 in the first half: "I think they'll win it all. They have a great bench, great personnel and they really play well together. They've been playing together for a long time now and they've got to be the favorites.

"I really felt strong and really relaxed tonight on the boards in the first half. I got my hands on a lot of loose balls because they were double-teaming Joe Barry. They let me roam tonight and I got some good bounces and just got rebounds."

Said Warrior guard Terry Teagle: "I hope the Lakers go on to win the championship. At least we can say that we lost to a world champion."

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