On the night James Worthy went to the wall one last time for the Lakers, Sedale Threatt went to the well.
For the first 46 minutes of the game, he made all of three baskets in 11 shots, with misses on all five three-point attempts. To some, this is a bad night. To Threatt, it's warmups.
When he got the ball in the final two minutes, the shots went up faster than Worthy's jersey. The first three-point basket broke a tie and the one that followed, 21 seconds later from almost the same spot, became the winning points in the 87-82 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday before 16,176 at the Forum.
Maybe it was a night of comebacks: Vlade Divac, hobbled by a sore knee two games ago, in street clothes Friday, so uncertain for Sunday that Coach Del Harris had to check about an hour before tip-off whether he would play, played 37 minutes and closed the game by scoring the Lakers' final three points. All part of 21 points, 13 rebounds, six assists and six blocks.
Threatt, coming off his 27-point showing against the Raptors, played the entire fourth quarter and 28 minutes in all, searching for his shooting rhythm most of the way. With five minutes to go, and the Lakers locked in a struggle, he was still a no show.
Hesitate when he got the ball again?
Not in this lifetime.
"I would never," Threatt said. "I was struggling, but I'm one of those guys who'll stay with his shot regardless."
Or as teammate Eddie Jones said: "He might have missed plenty, but the ones he forced himself to take won the game."
Starting with 1:54 remaining. It was 78-78, or at least it was just before he launched from 24 feet away on the left side, near the Laker bench. That was worth a three-point lead.
The Pistons called a 20-second timeout, then Grant Hill missed a 10-foot shot. The Lakers rebounded and got the ball to Threatt, 25 feet out on the left side.
He pulled up and sank another. Suddenly, with 1:34 left, the Lakers were up by six and had the winning points, left only to withstand two free throws each by Hill and Lindsey Hunter.
"Everyone who has been following us knows how confident I am of Sedale Threatt," Harris said. "He's just a great competitor, a great lover of the game. He will make a big shot and love it. I like him taking the big shot."
Anthony Peeler, out the last five games because of a sore foot, will accompany the team to New York today and should play sometime during the six-game trip, possibly as soon as Tuesday against the Knicks. In his absence, and with Frankie King on the injured list, the Lakers have had only three true guards: starters Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones, with Sedale Threatt backing up both. . . .
Sam Bowie, about two months into retirement and already contemplating a comeback, met briefly Sunday with Executive Vice President Jerry West while in town for the James Worthy ceremony, a continuation of the same conversation they have had since the end of last season. That is, if he wants to play again, the Lakers are interested in having him back. Only so interested, though. They have no salary restrictions on someone who technically is still their own unsigned free agent, but anything beyond a one-year contract is very unlikely because that would take cap room away earmarked for the summer's lucrative free-agent class. Bowie himself said he doesn't expect to play again, but had enough of an "itch" that he worked out last week for the Chicago Bulls and talked with the Lakers. Then again, don't expect to see the 34-year-old backup center-power forward soon even if he does re-sign--the closest he has come to a workout since the end of last season is three weeks worth of solo drills and he probably still needs arthroscopic surgery to clean out his right knee.