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It Was Fan Appreciation Day for Shaw

May 30, 2000|TIM KAWAKAMI

On Sunday, Brian Shaw was in suspended animation--suspended by the NBA for Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers, but animatedly watching the game from the team hotel as the Lakers rallied for the victory.

"It was like when you have a kid . . . and they're out playing Pop Warner football and they get hit real hard by a big lineman or something," Shaw recounted Monday, back with the team at its El Segundo practice site.

"I was kind of flinching at different times when things weren't going good and I was jumping up and cheering like I was in the stands when we got on a good run.

"I was just hoping that [Ron] Harper or Kobe [Bryant] didn't get in foul trouble and they'd try to exploit that, where my presence would've been felt. But they all did well.

"Harp really stepped up and played big. And Glen [Rice] as well."

In the final moments of the game, Shaw watched as Derek Fisher and Shaquille O'Neal took turns donning Shaw's jersey as a tribute and a sign of protest to the league for suspending him for taking several steps away from the bench area toward a Rick Fox-Scottie Pippen scuffle in Game 3.

"I was touched," Shaw said of the tribute. "I mean, it made me feel special, made me feel that my presence was with them.

"All my friends and family called me right away while they were doing it, so I was answering the phone and clicking over to the other line and everybody was saying, 'That was nice.'

"It just made me feel good, made me feel warm inside."

Shaw said he left his room with under a minute left in the game to catch a cab to the arena to join his teammates on the bus and fly back to L.A., but was told all of the taxis were already at the arena.

"I was like, 'Now, I'm going to end up being late for the bus,"' he said. "So actually some people I met downstairs in the lobby that were watching the game ended up giving me a ride. Actually the guy, him and his family they were from Santa Barbara [where Shaw went to school at UC Santa Barbara].

"We got talking and they were, 'Hey, we'll give you a ride!' "


O'Neal said the Lakers are moving the ball down the floor quicker, which has helped combat the Trail Blazers' fierce double- and triple-teams inside and got him more shots in the second half of Games 3 and 4.

"When we have to come down in a set offensive structure, I think it's easy for them to double," O'Neal said. "But if we can get a rebound, push it out and run and I can get to the middle of the floor, it's easy for me to get my shot off.

"But I'm not really worried about my shot. I'm just trying to get all my other teammates involved, try to get everybody into double figures and then usually I'll wake up when I want to wake up."


Rookie forward Devean George tested his sprained left ankle but looked gimpy, and Coach Phil Jackson said it was unlikely that George will be available tonight.

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