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PRO BASKETBALL DAILY REPORT : LAKERS

Bryant in Lineup With Game on Line

November 09, 1996|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Kobe Bryant, after cameos in each of his first three appearances, played in the second half for the first time as a pro and got 17 minutes in all Friday night at Toronto.

Most were at the start, but four came in the fourth quarter. And Coach Del Harris also put him back in for the final play when the Lakers used four guards--Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Byron Scott and Bryant--along with Shaquille O'Neal for a last-second shot that never materialized.

"It's all a learning experience," said Bryant, still averaging only 8.3 minutes per outing. "It was my first time out there [at the end of a game]. It was great."

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Harris, on the Lakers committing two turnovers in a stretch of three possessions after they had cut the Raptors' lead to 86-83: "A good team doesn't do that. As a young team, we just have to mature."

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Vlade Divac, open to leaving the Lakers in July to allow for the signing of O'Neal, is now rooting for his former team to win the championship.

"Why not?" asked Divac, now with the Charlotte Hornets. "Maybe it's not natural because there should be ego going on. I have an ego. I would have liked to have been there. But I'm here and I'm excited about it. Things are going well. But they have a better chance to win a championship now than we do. That's just being realistic. I'd like to win one here, but they are closer."

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