Welcome to his jungle.
Del Harris long ago tired of having to defend Robert Horry to the masses disappointed in not having a power forward who averages 10 rebounds a game. New ammunition arrived the night before--19 points on seven-of-seven shooting, nine rebounds and four blocks in the Game 3 victory over the SuperSonics--so his coach wasn't about to let the moment pass Saturday without bringing some deserved attention to an outstanding showing.
"Fortunately as we go on, more and more people can see all the fine things that Robert does," Harris said after practice. "I was on the Jim Rome show and he asked me, 'Why doesn't this guy ever make a shot and why doesn't he ever rebound?'
"The guy can't shoot, right? Now, the last five games, Robert Horry's shooting 59.4 and 71.4 [on free throws].
"Now, rebounds. 'Why doesn't this guy rebound?' Here's Shaquille O'Neal, our No. 1 rebounder. I'm looking, who's next? Well, good night. It's Robert Horry. And the guy that's third behind Robert Horry has 12 less rebounds in these five games.
"But that guy can't pass. Wait a minute, he's got 18 assists and only seven turnovers. Well, that's a fluke. That's five games. Look back to 10 games, it can't be that good.
"Yeah, that's right. His shooting percentage has dropped to 58.3. Sure enough."
Harris at his sarcastic best comes with Horry near his best, at 9.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 58.1% in the seven playoff games.
"Horry had an unbelievably great offensive and defensive game," SuperSonic Coach George Karl said of Friday's performance. "Horry had a great court game. Great defensively and great offensively."
The 119 points by the Lakers in Game 3 was their biggest playoff output this season and the most they have had in a non-overtime postseason game in seven years, since the 123 points against Golden State on May 12, 1991. . . . Nick Van Exel, on the difference between the Lakers who wilted under fourth-quarter intensity from the SuperSonics in the opener and the Lakers who won the next two: "We're playing more relaxed. We're playing like there's not a lot of pressure on us. We're just going out there and playing ball. When we play like that, we're definitely a better team. When we're just out there playing and having fun, then we're scrambling and aggressive defensively and we're making them do things they don't want to do."