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NBA PLAYOFFS MINNESOTA VS. LAKERS / SERIES REPORT /
LAKER NOTES

No Big Shot, but These Are Just Fine

May 01, 2003|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

Robert Horry had not made a three-pointer in four games, would not make one in his first 133 minutes of playing time in a series in which the Lakers were starving for a perimeter game, when Coach Phil Jackson, in the moments before Game 5, felt obliged.

Jackson doesn't ordinarily bother Horry. Horry goes to practice, does his work, doesn't complain, plays the hard minutes when absolutely necessary, and always shows up in April.

And, at the very time everyone forgets about Horry and starts staring at Kobe Bryant or whomever, Horry picks up a loose ball and lofts it toward the basket and they all go home, talking about Robert Horry again.

So, Horry was somewhat surprised to see Jackson. So much so that, asked for the gist of the conversation they had Tuesday night in Minneapolis, it took him a while to remember. Then, he grinned.

"He told me, 'Make a shot or you'll be fired,' " Horry said, laughing.

Not so funny to Horry, perhaps, is he can be. The Lakers hold a $5.3-million option for next season. That probably is not why Horry missed his first 12 three-point shots of the series, any more than why he made his next two in a four-possession span in the second quarter that helped launch the Lakers to their 30-point victory Tuesday.

The second came as Jackson howled for a timeout eight feet away from Horry.

"You know, he always shoots those shots in kind of like a different rhythm than I anticipate," Jackson said. "He's an off-the-cuff shooter, so to speak. I didn't insist when I saw he was loading up. I didn't jump in his face. That's the best thing I did."

When the shot fell, Jackson turned his head and made momentary eye contact with Minnesota Coach Flip Saunders, and the two chuckled at how the game can go. Horry too.

"It was only a matter of time," Horry said. "I wasn't getting enough shots in rhythm.... I had to check the gun to see if it was firing right."

*

Shaquille O'Neal has been sued by Dreams Inc., a Florida-based collectibles company, for violating terms of a contract. According to reports, the suit seeks the return of cash and stock, as well as compensatory damages.

"When you do business with a company, you've got to do it like you say you're going to do it," O'Neal said Wednesday. "They didn't come through."

*

The message on Derek Fisher's wristband on Tuesday night -- "R.F. 17" -- honored Rick Fox, who was sidelined for the postseason when he tore a tendon in his foot in Game 4.... Fisher, kneed in the thigh by Kevin Garnett in Game 5, said he was sore, but fine for tonight's Game 6.... If the Lakers close out the Timberwolves in six games and the San Antonio Spurs do the same to the Phoenix Suns, the Lakers would open the next round Monday in San Antonio. If one of the series were to go seven games, the conference semifinals would start Tuesday.

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