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NBA PLAYOFFS

Game Report

May 13, 1997

FIRST QUARTER: LAKERS: 25, UTAH: 31

The Laker offense seemed more aggressive early, taking it to the basket, and passing much better on the interior. That was before Greg Ostertag turned into Wilt Chamberlain, blocking Elden Campbell's turnaround and Shaquille O'Neal's short hook and finishing with four blocks in the quarter. Nick Van Exel yelled only at John Stockton in this opening period and got a technical for his effort, but he was also the Laker offense. O'Neal sat about half of the quarter with two fouls. Karl Malone was again too much to handle. After O'Neal left, Malone scored eight of his 15. Jerome Kersey was left to stop him. He picked up three fouls in a little over two minutes. Travis Knight then picked up two. Who's next?

* LAKER LEADING SCORER: Van Exel 11

* JAZZ LEADING SCORER: Malone 15

SECOND QUARTER: LAKERS: 45, UTAH: 53

After making a fade-away jumper with Sean Rooks (he was next) guarding him for a 33-27 Utah lead, Malone went to the bench and in his absence the Jazz pushed the lead to eight, 39-31, with 8:28 remaining. Eddie Jones picked up his third foul with about 4:30 remaining and was replaced by Kobe Bryant, joining his foul-prone brethren on the Laker bench. Shortly after, Campbell picked up his third foul, also taking a seat. After putting on a clinic that could be entitled "Missing Easy Shots Inside," O'Neal not only scored in the paint but made the ensuing free throw, thanks to an Ostertag foul. That cut the Jazz lead to 46-41 with 3:02 left. O'Neal followed up with a dunk, and then another, but Bryon Russell's three-point with a fraction left stopped any momentum the Lakers may have thought they had.

* LAKER LEADING SCORER: O'Neal 12

* JAZZ LEADING SCORER: Stockton, Russell 6

THIRD QUARTER: LAKERS: 61, UTAH: 66

Russell scored a slashing drive to give Utah a 55-48 lead and then followed up by drawing an offensive foul from O'Neal, his third, with 10:15 left. Malone then made an amazing 20-foot fading jump shot to give the Jazz their biggest lead, 57-48. Van Exel answered with a three-pointer. Of course all basketball was tarnished when O'Neal picked up his fourth foul, a flagrant one on Malone. Horry was ejected for picking on someone far from his own size in Hornacek, pushing him in the face right in front an official. Malone got a technical and the rest of the quarter was a sloppy mess. But with Malone resting, Van Exel led an 8-0 run that cut the Utah lead from 11 to five in the final five minutes. Utah didn't score in the final 5:15.

* LAKER LEADING SCORER: Van Exel 8

* JAZZ LEADING SCORER: Malone 4

FOURTH QUARTER: LAKERS: 89, UTAH: 89

Bryant gave himself the green light and after a few out-of-control drives, made a 14-foot jumper and was fouled in the process. He made the free throw and after a Russell miss, Van Exel's drive gave the Lakers the lead, 69-68, its first since early the opening period. On Utah's next possession, O'Neal picked up his fifth foul and sat until 6:30 remained. But both teams kept making big shots, and Bryant's final miss seemed to be the only shot not to fall.

* LAKER LEADING SCORER: Van Exel 7

* JAZZ LEADING SCORER: Stockton 10

FOURTH QUARTER: LAKERS: 93, UTAH: 98

With O'Neal on the bench, Malone seemed the lone big man on the floor and he scored six quick points, two from the line and four on a pair of pretty fading jumpers. With the Lakers' main threat on the bench, Bryant decided he was going to take over and then showed his age by throwing up three air balls. It was perhaps fitting that the final Laker shot, from Eddie Jones, was also an air ball.

* LAKER LEADING SCORER: Campbell, Bryant 2

* JAZZ LEADING SCORER: Malone 6

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