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SPORTS EXTRA / NBA PLAYOFFS | LAKER NOTES

Jackson Dares to Stare, but No One Cares

May 29, 2000|TIM KAWAKAMI

PORTLAND, Ore. — Coach Phil Jackson, who, before the game, grinned and calmly called Scottie Pippen the Trail Blazers' "lead jackal," engaged in several long shared glances with his former player during Sunday's game, and afterward said it was neither an angry nor necessarily a pleasant series of exchanges.

"No, there was nothing there, just looking at each other, kind of," Jackson said after Game 4. "We weren't conversing. We were just kind of checking each other out."

So nothing at all was communicated by the glances, including one up-close-and-personal moment right before Pippen drew a technical foul in the second quarter?

"There was nothing to be said," Jackson said. "Scottie was playing really hard and I was just checking out he was doing."

Laker guard Ron Harper, a close friend of Pippen's, said whatever hostilities that might be arising are only temporary and only in the heat of the moment.

"Pipp loves Phil," Harper said. "He loves Phil to death. This is just a thing. They're two good friends, that's all that is. Pipp loves to play hard."

Said Jackson before the game, agreeing that Pippen has been displaying a lot of emotion on the floor during this series: "Scottie's always been an enthusiastic player, maybe not to this level, but he's always played with a lot of enthusiasm and a certain amount of love of the game comes through in his play."

*

Near the end of the game, several Laker players paid tribute to suspended guard Brian Shaw by donning his jersey--Derek Fisher put it on over his warmup top when he went to the scorer's table to check in, and Shaquille O'Neal squeezed it over his own jersey, putting it on backward and wearing it while he sat on the bench in the closing moments and keeping it on for a TV interview.

"We felt that the system got us [when Shaw was suspended one game for taking a few steps away from the bench area during a Rick Fox-Pippen scuffle], but we were motivated and we were playing hard," O'Neal said.

Said Harper: "This is for my boy Shaw--he's back at the hotel, we're about to go get him, get on the flight and enjoy this one."

*

Harper made six of 12 shots, and had a playoff-high 18 points, his second consecutive big scoring effort in Portland.

"Am I surprised in myself? I've got faith in me," Harper said. "If you don't have faith in me, the guys on the team, they have faith.

"They pass the ball. Hey, I've got six to seven guys on my team yelling, 'Shoot the ball! Shoot it!' "

Laker's Big 3

O'NEAL

*--*

Sun. Playoffs 25 Points 29.9 11 Rebounds 15.6 3 Assists 3.2

*--*

BRYANT

*--*

Sun. Playoffs 18 Points 22.6 4 Rebounds 4.1 7 Assists 4.0

*--*

RICE

*--*

Sun. Playoffs 21 Points 12.9 7 Rebounds 4.6 0 Assists 2.5

*--*

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