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NBA FINALS: LAKERS 99, DETROIT 91 | SPOTLIGHT

Hahn Has Some Luck for Lakers

June 09, 2004|From Times Staff Reports

Had the Lakers lost Tuesday, it would have cost Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn one of his favorite shirts.

Hahn, who played host to a small gathering at Getty House, the official residence of the mayor of L.A., to watch Game 2, donned his black Laker golf shirt for the occasion. The shirt is a holdover from L.A.'s NBA title in 2002.

"I haven't witnessed a game wearing this shirt where they lost," he said. "I felt I owed it to the Lakers."

Most of the people at the get-together were members of Hahn's staff, and everyone watched the game on a big-screen TV in the Grand Game Room of the mansion. Catering was provided by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, chef/owners of Border Grill and Ciudad. They prepared fish tacos, using the walleye won by the mayor in his bet with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak after the Lakers beat the Timberwolves in the Western Conference championship.

Hahn has promised to send Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick a basket of Mrs. Beasley's cookies and pastries if the Pistons win. "But," he said, "I don't intend to have to pay off on those bets."

Hahn said he isn't sure what he'll get if the Lakers win.

As for his Laker shirt, that stays ... at least for a while.

"I'm not going to wash it," he said. "You just aren't going to want to be around me."

*

How big was Kobe Bryant's shot that propelled Game 2 into overtime, where the Lakers prevailed to even the series?

Consider that since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format in 1985, road teams have won the first two games only twice. And in both instances -- Houston in 1995 and Chicago in 1993 -- the road teams went on to win those series.

The Piston-Laker series is the 10th in which the road team won one of the two opening games. In the previous nine series, the team with the home-court advantage went on to win seven of the series. The only road teams to win a series after splitting the first two games were the Chicago Bulls in 1998 against Utah and the Lakers in 1985 against Boston.

*

Tired of waiting for the next chapter of that reality series known as the NBA playoffs? Ever feel like the season finale will never get here?

Have patience. The format is about to change. Not this season, of course. But NBA officials admit they understand the frustration with a schedule that features more off days than game days at the start of the postseason.

"This year, perhaps more than any other," said NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik before Tuesday's game, "we really stretched to try and get virtually every game on national TV unopposed. That really was the goal.

"I think we kind of all accept that maybe we stretched too far this season and, as a result, we're working on a schedule next year that will be, for the first round, at least two, maybe three days shorter ... You won't see any four days off, and far fewer three days off between games ... That will result in games competing with each other on two of our networks, more so than we had this year, but I think we have all concluded that that's a necessary tradeoff."

*

A plan to reunite the Detroit Pistons' "Bad Boy" championship teams of 1989 and 1990 before Game 3 of the Finals apparently has fallen apart.

Isiah Thomas said last week a reunion was in the works, and he was looking forward to it.

"We all stay in touch," said Thomas, now president of basketball operations of the New York Knicks. "We shared a lot and it has kept us connected and in touch."

But not connected enough to round them all up this week, according to a Piston spokesman, who said too many players couldn't make it.

*

Detroit's Tayshaun Prince grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Compton Dominguez High where he won the George Yardley Award from The Times as the best prep player in Southern California in 1998.

But playing in an NBA Finals game on the road in front of family and friends can be a drag, especially when it comes to distributing tickets. For the first two games of the series played at Staples Center, Prince kept it simple.

"I only get 10 tickets and those who didn't get a chance to attend the first game, just went to the second," said Prince, whose older brother, Tommie, played at Pepperdine. "I don't let stuff like that get to me. Like I said, I only get 10 tickets."

Times staff writers Sam Farmer, Steve Springer, Helene Elliott, and Lonnie White contributed to this report.

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