It's a tossup which is a more effective way to get in shape: a week at Parris Island or one night against the New York Knicks.
The Lakers got more exercise than they bargained for Tuesday night from the Knicks, who threw a nonstop, full-court press at the home team for 48 minutes before finally falling to the Lakers, 111-108, before a Forum crowd of 15,198.
New Knick Coach Rick Pitino, fresh out of Providence College, nearly introduced two-platoon basketball to the National Basketball Assn. He set standards by substituting 14 times in the first quarter alone, sending a complement of five new players into the game midway through the second quarter, and using 15 players in all.
And while pressuring the ball, the Knicks had no qualms about hacking away, either: They committed 46 personal fouls, sending the Lakers to the line 66 times to convert 52 free throws.
While Kareem Abdul-Jabbar enjoyed a respite--he played just 11 minutes--backup center Mychal Thompson labored for 36 minutes and scored a game-high 25 points while grabbing 8 rebounds.
"They throw more pressure at you than an IRS audit," said Thompson, adding that he hadn't seen such a press since playing against Bobby Knight while at the University of Minnesota.
Michael Cooper, who missed most of training camp with strep throat, made up for lost time the last two nights by averaging 35 minutes a game and scoring 18.
As intense as Tuesday night was--especially for an exhibition game--Thompson was still talking about the elbow Abdul-Jabbar threw at him in last week's intrasquad game.
"Can you believe that? I can't believe I survived that--it made me numb to my toes," Thompson said.
"No Ram or Raider lineman can throw a better elbow in the trenches than the King."
Thompson said it was a clean shot--"He got me off him the right way"--but said he never dreamed of retaliating.
"You can't hit the king," he said. "If you do, they throw you in the dungeon."
Magic Johnson did not play for the second straight night because of tendinitis in his left Achilles' tendon.