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Now It's All About Nothing

May 30, 2001|Tim Brown

Still eight days from anything resembling a playoff basketball game, the Lakers reconvened at their practice facility in El Segundo, worked out, watched film, and tried not to think about how many days like Tuesday were left before the NBA finals.

They are off again today and probably will take Sunday off as well. Ten days after the San Antonio Spurs were eliminated, the finals will begin June 6 at 6 p.m. at Staples Center.

Meantime, the players were devising ways to rest and stay sharp, emotionally and physically.

"I want to do what we've been doing," forward Rick Fox said. "I don't want to change anything, coming in here working still as hard as we've worked to get to this point. Get some extra sleep.

"I don't want to adopt any sort of attitude that it's summer, that there's need or reward to celebrate. That can creep in. It can creep in just by walking around town, getting patted on the back. I know we should all appreciate the love and support, but don't buy us too many drinks, don't feed us too much food. We haven't brought home the trophy yet. If we bring home the trophy, people can celebrate."

Shaquille O'Neal will use the time to rehabilitate his sprained left ankle, an injury he suffered Friday in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. It did not appear to hamper him in Game 4, particularly on his memorable jaunt leading the fastbreak, but he'll take the time nevertheless.

Horace Grant, who has had the worst of the defensive assignments in the power forward-laden West, said it was time to start thinking about Philadelphia's Tyrone Hill and Milwaukee's Scott Williams, Jason Caffey and Tim Thomas.

"I'll be relaxing," he said, "and trying to get Rasheed [Wallace] and Chris [Webber] and Tim [Duncan] out of my head."

Eddy Curry, the Illinois high school center projected by many to be the top pick in the NBA draft, and Gerald Wallace, a small forward who played one season at Alabama, visited the Laker training facility on Tuesday.

They met O'Neal, and Wallace spoke for about 20 minutes with Robert Horry, who also attended Alabama.

The Lakers, who don't have a draft pick and don't expect to trade into the draft, watched them at a workout last week.

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