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GAME 3 REPORT | SPUR NOTES

Jackson Provides Big Lift Off Bench

May 23, 1999|MARK HEISLER

If you want to know what Clippers dream of, Jaren Jackson, who played for them in the '92-93 season, had his come true Sunday, returning to Los Angeles in another uniform and scoring 22 points off the bench in a big game to help defeat the Lakers at the Great Western Forum.

"Jaren gave us a real lift because we weren't shooting very well from the perimeter," Coach Gregg Popovich said. "We hadn't found one guy steadily knocking down shots from the perimeter, like [Glen] Rice does, and to have somebody step up and do that, really made a difference for us tonight."

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Do the Spurs feel like they've got control of this series?

"To tell you the truth, I'm a little weird." Popovich said. "I don't think about it in those terms. We'll go watch the film tonight. We'll see if we want to make some changes for [today]."

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With 33-year-old David Robinson obliged to engage Shaquille O'Neal and with 31-year-old Sean Elliott's tongue hanging out after chasing Kobe Bryant around, Popovich was concerned about having to bring his veterans back the next day.

"If we had been down by 17 or up by 17 with 3 1/2 minutes to go, I would have thought about saving some minutes for people but I don't want to lose this game because I'm trying to save something for tomorrow," Popovich said.

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Elliott, on guarding Bryant: "I'm not too happy about it. Maybe as a team you want him to have the ball, but he's going to come to a point in his career where he makes the other four guys on the court a lot better. It's almost like he's coming to that realization now. He's starting to get the other guys involved and not force as many bad shots.

"It's like when Michael [Jordan] was in Chicago. You get the best seat in the house. But at the same time you don't want him to embarrass you on any of the highlight shows or 'SportsCenter.' You know what's coming, you just don't know how he is going to present it. You try to make it challenging for him, but I'm sure he has a lot more tricks in his bag."

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