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NBA PLAYOFFS

Game Report

May 03, 1997

FIRST QUARTER: LAKERS 21, TRAIL BLAZERS 19

* IN REVIEW: Have ball, will travel: The Trail Blazers had some problems, which was manifested in the opening minutes as they were called for traveling three times in the first half of the opening quarter. Worst pass award: Arvydas Sabonis, with 2:36 remaining, flung a lob pass and hit no one until the ball had traveled far out of bounds, rocketing toward Seattle. Nick Van Exel finally broke his scoring drought with 7:35 remaining, scoring his first points in two games. Laker rookie Travis Knight had some shaky early moments with two loose ball fouls. The Lakers' biggest lead of the quarter was 19-12 after Van Exel hit a 16-footer with 1:40 remaining, but the Trail Blazers quickly whittled it down by picking up five points in their next two possessions. Still, the Lakers maintained the lead with two Elden Campbell free throws with half a second remaining.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: Shaquille O'Neal 6.

* LEADING TRAIL BLAZER SCORER: Rasheed Wallace 10.

SECOND QUARTER: LAKERS 44, TRAIL BLAZERS 49

* IN REVIEW: It wasn't so bad that the Lakers got called for using an illegal defense two or three times in the first half . . . but how about five times? They held the rebounding edge after the first half, 18-17, and managed to stay close because the Trail Blazers committed 11 turnovers to the the Lakers' six. Second quarter offensive highlight: O'Neal's one-handed dunk, working the pick-and-roll with Eddie Jones. Best use of a 20-second time out: The Lakers had to do something after the Trail Blazers went on a 10-1 run to take a four-point lead, 36-32.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: O'Neal 12.

* LEADING TRAIL BLAZER SCORER: Isaiah Rider 6.

THIRD QUARTER: LAKERS 68, TRAIL BLAZERS 74

* IN REVIEW: It was a rare quiet quarter for O'Neal, who had two points. O'Neal picked up his fourth foul with 3:06 remaining, and Campbell got his fourth less than a minute later. Best use of timeout, Part II: The Lakers attempted to slow the Trail Blazers' momentum after Wallace easily hit a three-point basket to expand the lead to 57-48. Robert Horry's moment finally arrived--he scored for the first time in two games. And, it was a play to remember--cutting Portland's lead to 70-67 with 1:40 remaining--after he grabbed a Campbell rebound and, while in the air, shifted the ball from his right hand to his left before scoring.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: Campbell 6.

* LEADING TRAIL BLAZER SCORER: Gary Trent 6, Sabonis 6.

FOURTH QUARTER: LAKERS 95, TRAIL BLAZERS 91

* IN REVIEW: So, who says you can't win a basketball game by hitting just one field goal in eight minutes? That's how the Lakers took over the fourth quarter--from the line--and got a rare victory in Portland and advanced to Salt Lake City and a game against the Jazz on Sunday. Scary moment for Lakers: With a little more than seven minutes remaining, Trent banged into O'Neal's knee and, at least for a moment, he looked a bit hobbled, but appeared to be fine later on. After the Lakers clawed back to take a 80-79 lead--on two more free throws by O'Neal, no less, with 5:26 remaining--they let the Trail Blazers rattle off four consecutive points, a tip-in and then a 15-footer by Wallace. It stayed close until the end, as the Lakers secured it with six points from the free-throw line in the final 36 seconds, including four in the final 15 seconds.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: Campbell 10.

* LEADING TRAIL BLAZER SCORER: Sabonis 7.

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