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Kids Not Feeling Any Pressure

May 09, 2003|Mark Heisler | Times Staff Writer

After the Lakers lost the opener of the Western Conference semifinal, 87-82, Shaquille O'Neal said he thought that was as well as the San Antonio Spurs could play.

In Game 2, of course, the Spurs played better.

"Maybe he thought we were Minnesota," San Antonio guard Tony Parker said. "He thought we played good, but I know we didn't play that good. Jack [Stephen Jackson] didn't play that good.... I played a little better, Jack played a little better and Bruce [Bowen] played great.

"So we'll see what he's going to say now."

Of course, if O'Neal and others wondered how the young Spurs would react to playoff pressure, so did the older Spurs.

"I'm just happy to get these two wins," David Robinson said. "I'm ready to go to L.A. I can't speak for them [Lakers]. I don't know what they're thinking. For us, we're pleased with the young guys, guys like Manu [Ginobili] and Stephen Jackson.

"Those guys weren't in the playoffs last year. We didn't know what to expect from them, and they've done a great job for us. And Bruce, stepping into that starting lineup and really doing his job well, that adds to our defensive pressure. We're really pleased with the young, athletic people we have."

Bowen has helped hold Kobe Bryant to 40.3% shooting in the two games.

"Bruce is an animal," Robinson said.


Robinson, on completing his 14-year NBA career: "It does feel different. Knowing it's the last time around, it feels different. If it could be, I guess it's a little more special even.

"The goods and bads, I think I'm living them a little bit more. The last series [against Phoenix], seems like it took forever. Seemed like the longest series I ever felt like I was a part of. But it was all good....

"There's not one thing that I wished I had. I have gotten far more than I would have hoped for from the game. This has been ... man, there's not one thing I wished I had that I don't have."

San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich, on Robinson's stepping back to let Tim Duncan become the No. 1 option:

"David was an incredible study in realizing what was best for the team. I spent zero nights sleepless wondering how I was going to convince David how Tim was going to be our go-to guy.

"It was never a long discussion, never a persuasion deal.... He [Robinson] was magnificent in that regard."


As O'Neal prepared to shoot a free throw in the second quarter of Wednesday's game, a man ran up under the basket and unfurled a poster of a woman in a bikini.

O'Neal wasn't the only one surprised by the incident.

"I was thinking, 'What are you trying to do? This is crazy,' " Robinson said. "The fans are enthusiastic.... It's good to have fans who are enthusiastic, but that crossed the line a little bit."

The San Antonio Express-News contributed to this report.

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