Laker forward Kurt Rambis walked into the interview room after the Lakers opened the playoffs with a 122-110 victory over the San Antonio Spurs Friday night at the Forum and took one look at the media.
"OK, I'll go get Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar)," Rambis quipped.
The media, however, didn't want to talk with Abdul-Jabbar, they wanted Rambis.
Rambis exploded for 15 consecutive third-quarter points en route to setting a career-playoff high of 19 points against the Spurs.
The Spurs helped to set up Rambis' big game by leaving him alone in order to double team Abdul-Jabbar and Laker forward James Worthy.
"With San Antonio, their game plan was to turn the (power forward) completely loose to double-team on the post and blatantly leave him (Rambis) alone, so he got a lot of opportunities," Laker Coach Pat Riley said. "Kurt's playing exactly the way we want him to play and the way we know he can play. He had a great game. He's a scorer now. We want to change his role."
Rambis, whose role has been keying the Laker rebounding, didn't have much trouble adjusting to his new role.
"When was the last time I scored that many points?" Rambis asked in response to a question. "Why, I can remember back to high school. I used to be a scoring machine."
Rambis even had a fancy alley-oop dunk as he took over the game in the third quarter.
Rambis credited his teammates for setting him up with good passes in the third-quarter blitz.
"I got in the groove and took advantage of good passes," Rambis said. "My scoring was attributed to the unselfish play of my teammates. That's Laker basketball, the fast break. If you cut to the basket and you get open, you'll get the easy layup. That's the way it unfolded. I wasn't covered due to the double teams."
Rambis was on the bench during the Lakers' run to the National Basketball Assn. title last season and was on the bench when the 1987-88 season began.
However, he cracked the starting lineup March 20 when Riley benched A.C. Green.
Laker guard Magic Johnson thinks the time Rambis spent on the bench had a positive effect on his development as an offensive player.
"He (Rambis) definitely made himself better," Johnson said. "I think he had time to evaluate the situation.
"Tonight they were double-teaming me and some of the other guys, so there were more opportunities for him because he got open."
The Spurs said they didn't spend much time setting up a defense to stop Rambis in the series.
"He's one of the guys we rotate off on defense," Spur guard Alvin Robertson said. "We figure that it's better for us if we force him outside. But tonight he really moved well without the ball and got some easy shots. We've got to force him outside and let him earn his points."
Rambis got a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 17,505 when he left the game at the end of his third-quarter run.
And Laker owner Jerry Buss also stopped by Rambis" dressing cubicle in the Laker locker room to congratulate him after the game.
Buss, however, had trouble getting near Rambis, who was surrounded by reporters and TV cameras.
"It used to be that I could walk right up and say hello to you after a game," Buss said to Rambis. "Great game."