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Now, It's More Outs Than Ins

May 23, 1999|TIM KAWAKAMI

The Lakers have three all-stars and some playoff experience and all that stuff that's supposed to win playoff games, pretty much the same as the San Antonio Spurs, you could say.

So why have the Spurs made all the big plays down the stretch in this Western Conference playoff series, and the Lakers failed to do so?

"It's a matter of them knowing what they're going to do," said Kobe Bryant, who scored 20 points on seven-of-18 shooting.

"Us . . . it's not necessarily a negative thing, but you really don't know what you want to do from possession to possession.

"San Antonio's pretty much clear-cut. They know the ins and outs, they know how they're going to counterattack if the defense makes some type of adjustment."

Down the stretch, the Lakers had Derek Fisher miss a jumper, Glen Rice miss a jumper, Bryant lose the ball out of bounds, and Rice miss two desperation three-pointers.

Zero points in the last 1:54.

Meanwhile, the Spurs scored the final 13 points of the game.

"I don't know why it's happening," Rice said. "It's something that I think we as a team, as a group, have to continue to keep working on. . . .

"You don't really have an answer for that. Sometimes it just happens like that. It's been happening to us a lot lately."


It's either a metaphor or only a moment, frozen in time as a Laker memento and nightmare: Bryant, flying down court, basket ahead. But, with 33.2 seconds left and the Lakers trailing, 95-91, the Lakers' best transition player lost the dribble, and ran out of bounds with the ball, basically ending their chances.

"I was thinking too far ahead," Bryant said. "It's funny because on a drive, I can kind of visualize a picture of what's going to happen before it happens--what I'm going to do, what he's going to do. Sometimes you kind of run ahead of yourself."

What was he visualizing with David Robinson coming late to defend the rim?

"I was going over the top of him," Bryant said. "He was a step late. Sometimes, when that happens . . . you lose the ball like back here, because you're ahead of yourself..

"David Robinson was on the opposite block, and I don't think he saw me coming."

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