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LAKER NOTES

It Might Get Nasty in Game 3

April 27, 2001|TIM BROWN

To the Portland Trail Blazers, a team with wild eyes and tons of emotional issues, add the specter of postseason elimination.

Game 3 is Sunday at The Rose Garden, where desperation will be in the air.

"It's going to be kind of nasty," Robert Horry said. "To close that team out, it's going to get nasty, especially against a team with that kind of talent."

The Trail Blazers took five technical fouls Thursday night at Staples Center, during a 106-88 Laker victory, and had two players ejected, including the requisite Rasheed Wallace send-off.

And now it's going to get nasty.

"We just have to go up there and play," Bryant said. "It might be [nasty]. It doesn't worry me one bit."

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Bryant left the building dressed in cream over white, his ribs aching from where his one-time hero, Scottie Pippen grabbed him. He expected Pippen to go for him, but not in a blowout.

"If it was a close ballgame, I could understand that," Bryant said. "But things had already gotten out of hand. I think he acted out of frustration."

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It's not only Arvydas Sabonis, Dale Davis and whoever else is at the end of the Portland Trail Blazer bench.

Shaquille O'Neal has other things to think about. His flagrant foul in Sunday's game cost him a point in the NBA disciplinary system; three more and he'll be suspended for a game.

Flagrant fouls come in two varieties: one- and two-pointers. O'Neal's shove of Sabonis in Game 1 was worth one point. Laker General Manager Mitch Kupchak asked the league office to review the call, which was upheld on Wednesday by Stu Jackson, the league's senior vice president of operations.

The points carry through the playoffs.

In a physical series with the Trail Blazers, Laker Coach Phil Jackson was concerned that the possibility of suspension might hinder O'Neal's aggressiveness.

"That's something that restricts a player's ability to move with the same amount of freedom," he said. "The league was not bending.

"[The league] almost likes to saddle players with it to keep them restricted, to play under wraps."

O'Neal said he wouldn't let it bother him.

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Philip Anschutz has purchased an additional 4.8% of the Lakers, driving his share of the franchise to 27.3%, the second-largest share of stock behind Jerry Buss' majority ownership.

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