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GAME 3 REPORT: NBA PLAYOFFS LAKERS LEAD SERIES 2-1
: SUPERSONIC NOTES

With Shaq Pushing 40 It's Karl Who Ages

May 09, 1998|STEVE SPRINGER

Thirty and 12.

Seattle SuperSonic Coach George Karl knows Laker center Shaquille O'Neal is going to get about 30 points and 12 rebounds no matter what defenses Karl throws at him, no matter how many double- and triple-teams he piles up in the path of the 7-foot-1, 315-pounder.

"It doesn't matter whether it's at home or on the road, you look at the numbers and it's constant," Karl said.

"But it depends on how he gets the 30. Sometimes he gets it with a little bit of luck thrown in, and sometimes it's in the flow with everybody in sync. That's when it kind of scares me. The key is to keep him [O'Neal] closer to 20 than 30 . . . or 40."

*

In their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers complained about the whining they heard from the Trail Blazers over the officiating.

Karl, on the other hand, is determined to stop any such bleating by the SuperSonics.

"They are letting us play," Karl said of the officials. "We've got to stop bitching about it and play."

*

The SuperSonics beat the Lakers in the first two playoff series played between the clubs, Seattle taking two of three in a first-round series in the 1977-78 season and four of five in a second-round series the following season.

But the SuperSonics haven't won since, the Lakers winning the last four postseason series between the teams.

Seattle has won only three of 13 postseason games it has played in Los Angeles. . . . Where are they now: Former UCLA star and broadcaster Marques Johnson is an analyst on SuperSonic broadcasts.

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