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Three-Pointers at End Too Much for Lakers


OAKLAND — If they can perfect their two-second defense, the Lakers might win a game.

Robbed of a victory Tuesday night at Phoenix on Dan Majerle's three-pointer at the buzzer, the Lakers on Thursday night were pushed into overtime on a three-pointer by Latrell Sprewell with 1.4 seconds to go. Sprewell scored five points in overtime for a career-high 36 points in the Golden State Warriors' 122-116 victory at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the fifth consecutive loss and 10th in 11 games for the Lakers (34-38).

"It was almost like the same thing that happened in Phoenix," said Byron Scott, who led the Lakers with 24 points, including an overtime three-pointer that tied the game at 116. "Sprewell hit a great shot, but damn, how many nights in a row can it happen?"

Two in a row was too many for the Lakers, who are one game behind the Clippers for the seventh Western Conference playoff berth, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Denver Nuggets and 3 1/2 ahead of the Warriors. Thursday's loss was their first to the Warriors in four games this season and ended a six-game overtime winning streak, which included five overtime victories this season.

"At least we're playing well enough to win basketball games, and that's a step in the right direction," Laker Coach Randy Pfund said after his team's third consecutive road defeat, its longest road losing streak of the season.

They have many more steps to go if they are to right themselves in the last 10 games of the season. They led by 16 points late in the second quarter but couldn't hold off the Warriors, who lacked three of their top four scorers because of assorted injuries.

The end of the fourth quarter was, for the Lakers, all too similar to the end of their 115-114 loss at Phoenix.

Threatt stole the ball from Sprewell in the lane and passed upcourt to A.C. Green, whose dunk with 45.6 seconds to play gave the Lakers a 107-104 lead. Billy Owens made a bank shot to bring the Warriors within one again, but Scott hit two free throws with 4.5 seconds left to put the Lakers ahead, 109-106. After a Golden State timeout, Owens inbounded the ball to Sprewell, who hurled his three-pointer cleanly through the net to tie the game.

"I just happened to be open," Sprewell said, "and Billy was able to lob the ball over Threatt."

On the Lakers' last possession, Anthony Peeler couldn't get off a shot.

Owens' tip-in with 33.1 seconds to play in overtime put the Warriors ahead, 118-116.

Said Scott: "We could very well be 2-0 on this trip. We have to go home and basically play the same way, and hopefully we'll get a win."

Laker Notes

After saying he might give Anthony Peeler a start, Randy Pfund retreated a bit Thursday. "Rookies are up and down and that's probably why you don't move rookies into the starting lineup until they learn what it means to be a professional," he said. "We'll see where we go from here. I'm not saying it's not going to happen." . . . Doug Christie, outplayed by the Suns' Kevin Johnson, played 12 minutes Thursday and had three points. Had Tim Hardaway (bruised knee) been in the Warriors' lineup, Christie would have dropped in the rotation behind Duane Cooper, who led the fourth-quarter rally at Phoenix.


They drop sixth road game in a row and will not improve on previous season's record for first time in six years. C2

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