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NBA PLAYOFFS

Game Report

May 09, 1997

FIRST QUARTER: JAZZ: 21, LAKERS: 29

IN REVIEW: It was a great quarter of playoff basketball--if you like watching free-throw shooting. Incredibly, the Jazz shot four for 22, or 18%, from the field and still was in the game. More incredibly, the Jazz missed its first 10 shots, including five by Karl Malone, and was still in the game. Malone made six free throws in the quarter, Jeff Hornacek seven. The officiating crew of Dick Bavetta, Terry Durham and Bill Oakes called 12 fouls against the Lakers and nine more against the Jazz. They also tossed in a technical foul against Laker Coach Del Harris and a flagrant foul against the Lakers' Jerome Kersey. Actually, fouls were the only story of the quarter. Shaquille O'Neal and Elden Campbell, the Lakers' two big men, each had two fouls, allowing Harris to go, for one short span, with a vaunted front line of Sean Rooks, Travis Knight and Robert Horry.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: Nick Van Exel 6.

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Karl Malone 8.

* LAKER FIELD GOALS: 9-20, 45%.

* JAZZ FIELD GOALS: 2-22, 9.1%.

SECOND QUARTER: JAZZ: 36, LAKERS: 49

IN REVIEW: At one point midway through the quarter, Jazz reserve Adam Keefe, during a lull for a free throw, took the ball, all alone under his basket, measured his shot carefully, let go with his shot . . . and missed. And so it went for the dreadful Jazz on this night. At one point, their field-goal percentage was 7.7%, two for 26. Utah's star, Malone, finished the first half with one-for-13 shooting, and that didn't include the three close-in shots he missed while being fairly gently fouled. The Lakers, meanwhile, picked things up a bit behind Nick Van Exel, who made the play of the night to that point when he stole the ball out of a baffled Malone's hands, drove the length of the court and put in a shot for a 43-28 lead. But even with all the woes of the Jazz--John Stockton had three fouls, one assist and three points at halftime--the Lakers were still far from having buried the Jazz. And both O'Neal and Campbell picked up another foul in the period to end the half with three. Campbell played 15 minutes of the first half, O'Neal only 10.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: Van Exel and Elden Campbell 4.

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Malone 3.

* LAKER FIELD GOALS: 7-15, 46.7%.

* JAZZ FIELD GOALS: 4-22, 18.2%.

THIRD QUARTER: JAZZ: 59, LAKERS: 72

IN REVIEW: The game began to look more like a MASH unit than a basketball game, as Greg Ostertag of the Jazz and Byron Scott of the Lakers went down because of injuries. Ostertag's appeared to be the more serious, as he was helped off the court with his left knee appearing to be unable to bear any weight. But the first reports had his knee only sprained. Scott, who continued to add firepower to the Lakers' lineup off the bench, drove hard to the basket for a layup that put the Lakers in front, 72-59, in the closing seconds, but fell hard to the floor in the process. But he too, was shortly deemed to be all right and returned soon to a standing ovation. Van Exel was the real difference in the quarter, sinking three straight shots to get the Lakers in front, 70-57, after the Jazz moved dangerously close at 55-49 with just under seven minutes left. That followed two straight baskets by Hornacek, who was the only Utah player who seemed to have an idea where the basket was. Just before Hornacek's second basket, Horry missed a wide-open jam, prompting Harris to take a timeout to regroup.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: Van Exel 7.

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Jeff Hornacek 16.

* LAKER FIELD GOALS: 10-20, 50%.

* JAZZ FIELD GOALS: 9-20, 45%.

FINAL: JAZZ: 84, LAKERS: 104

IN REVIEW: Kobe Bryant, a Laker rookie fast becoming the king of garbage time, took over the game with a flashy (is it ever any other way with him?) 17-point performance in the period, giving him 19 for the game, and incredibly, making him the Lakers' leading scorer for the game. Bryant played only seven minutes in the first half and one more in the third period. On a night in which O'Neal was no factor and actually got tossed out in the final period after taunting Bavetta, Bryant gave the Forum crowd a huge thrill in a game that was, for the most part, devoid of them, by taking an alley-oop pass from Rooks and slamming home an over-the-head basket while facing downcourt toward Utah's basket. The Jazz finished with 23 of 80 shooting (28.8%) and Malone, on perhaps his most dreadful playoff night ever, made two of 20 shots from the field.

* LEADING LAKER SCORER: Kobe Bryant 11.

* LEADING JAZZ SCORER: Stephan Howard 9.

* LAKER FIELD GOALS: 9-17, 52%.

* JAZZ FIELD GOALS: 8-16, 50%.

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