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They Saw No Reason to Hang Out

May 21, 2000|LONNIE WHITE

Scottie Pippen and Steve Smith were dressed to kill, but neither Portland Trail Blazer wanted to stick around Staples Center after Saturday's Game 1 loss to the Lakers.

"Right now, I'd be happy to get out of this building," Pippen said during his interview session with reporters nearly an hour after the Lakers handed the Trail Blazers a 15-point defeat.

Added Smith: "As soon as possible."

And why not? After three days of talking about how they believed they would defeat the Lakers in the Western Conference finals, the Trail Blazers could have stayed home.

They may have played the Lakers even for a quarter but then they got blown out. They trailed by 24 points in the first half and never got closer than nine in the second.

"We just played poorly and they played well and they won the game," Portland guard Greg Anthony said. "However, regardless if you lost by one point or 20, we came down here to get a game out of the first two. We still have the opportunity and come [Game 2] Monday, we all know we have to play a lot better."

The Trail Blazers did not start off badly. They made 63.2% of their shots in the first quarter and headed into the second with the score tied at 26-26. But then their shooting went south. They made only seven of 17 shots, in the second quarter, only nine of 21 in the third.

"We had some good stretches, but we had a major breakdown and when you go down by 20, it's a tough place to be," forward Detlef Schrempf said. "Offensively, we hurt ourselves. We took quick shots, we had turnovers and they came back down and got easy baskets."


Portland is known for its trapping defense, but the Lakers were ready in Game 1. They had only seven turnovers and had plenty of open jump shots.

"We just have to come out and play hard in all four quarters," Portland guard Bonzi Wells said. "We had some trap schemes leaving guys open and we can't do that anymore. We have to play everyone straight up and make them be great one-on-one players."

Said Pippen: "We allowed them to get into their offense too early and they had us on our heels."


Portland Coach Mike Dunleavy had said center Arvydas Sabonis would have to play well for the Trail Blazers to win the series. Well, Sabonis must not have received the message because in 33 minutes in Game 1 he had no points, missing all four of his shots, and one rebound.

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