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Lakers' lead or deficit by the minute

Game 4 Report

June 14, 2004|Lonnie White | TIMES STAFF WRITER



Highlight reel: Gary Payton may be having an NBA Finals to forget, but he hooked up with Shaquille O'Neal for a basket that left the Pistons calling for offensive goaltending. Payton drove the lane and lofted a teardrop shot that was caught by O'Neal, who dunked the ball before it reached the rim.

Not in the box score: After picking up two quick fouls, the Lakers' Devean George went to the bench and was replaced by 13-year veteran Rick Fox. With Fox in the lineup, the Lakers' halfcourt offense was much more efficient and flowed for the first time in the series.

Winning numbers: 10 and 5. Points and rebounds in the quarter by O'Neal, who made his presence felt on both ends of the court against the Pistons' assortment of big men.

Wrong number: 2. Points scored in the quarter by Bryant, who could not find his rhythm against the Pistons' defense.

Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal 10, Payton, Karl Malone, Fox and Bryant 2; Pistons -- Chauncey Billups 9, Rasheed Wallace 5, Ben Wallace 3, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince 2.

Leading rebounders: Lakers -- O'Neal 5, two with one; Pistons -- Prince 4, Rasheed Wallace 3, Ben Wallace 2.




Highlight reel: Backup guard Derek Fisher missed a wide-open layup, but he hustled to get back into the play to keep the Lakers ahead. The key to the play was O'Neal, who kept the ball alive long enough for Fisher to catch it and finish with a three-point play.

Not in the box score: How the Pistons were shooting free throws with every Laker foul for the final 8:26 of the quarter. With Detroit attacking the basket at will, the Lakers picked up fouls early and then didn't play any defense near the end.

Winning number: 15. Rebounds grabbed in the quarter by the Lakers, who outrebounded their counterparts behind O'Neal, who picked up seven. Detroit had 13 boards in the quarter.

Wrong number: 23. Free throws in the first half by the Pistons, who made 17 of them. The Lakers took only eight free throws over the first two quarters.

Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal 7, Bryant 5, Fisher 3, George 2; Pistons -- Rasheed Wallace, Lindsey Hunter and Mike James 4, Ben Wallace, Hamilton, Prince 2.

Leading rebounders: Lakers -- O'Neal 7, Malone 3, George 2; Pistons -- Rasheed Wallace 5, Ben Wallace 3, Mike James and Elden Campbell 2.




Highlight reel: When motivated, Rasheed Wallace is as good as any power forward in the league, and he gave the Lakers' Slava Medvedenko a taste on back-to-back baskets. On the second, Wallace lost control of the ball and was fouled by Fox but still knocked down a bank shot to set up a three-point play.

Not in the box score: The extreme difference between the performance of the Lakers' top two players, O'Neal and Bryant. O'Neal's scoring and rebounding kept the Lakers' in the game, while Bryant's poor shooting and turnovers kept the Pistons close.

Winning number: 3. Free throws shot in the quarter by the Pistons after they had 23 at halftime. The Lakers finally managed to stop fouling, and Detroit had to earn points the hard way.

Wrong number: 6. Points scored in three quarters by Hamilton, the scoring star for the Pistons in Game 3. Hamilton made only two of eight shots to this point.

Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal 6, Bryant 5, George 3, Payton 2; Pistons -- Rasheed Wallace 7, Billups 4, Hamilton 2.

Leading rebounders: Lakers -- O'Neal 5, three with 1; Pistons -- Ben Wallace 3, Rasheed Wallace 2.




Highlight reel: Hamilton snapped out of his three-quarter shooting slump with a scoring spree in the fourth that might have won the NBA title for the Pistons. Utilizing a variety of screens to perfection, Hamilton scored the first two baskets of the quarter and kept on shooting, finishing with 11 of his 17 points over the final 12 minutes.

Not in the box score: If Rasheed Wallace were still playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, he would have picked up at least one technical foul for his consistent complaining to officials about calls that did not go his way. But he's a Piston now and did not get one called on him despite his griping.

Winning number: 26. Points scored in the game by Rasheed Wallace, who provided the type of offense the Pistons were seeking. Wallace made 10 of 23 shots and had 13 rebounds.

Wrong number: 17. Missed field goals by Bryant, who completed one of his worst playoff performances ever. He scored 20 points, but he took 25 shots and finished without a rebound.

Leading scorers: Lakers -- O'Neal 13, Bryant 8, Medvedenko 2; Pistons -- Hamilton 11, Rasheed Wallace 10, Billups 8.

Leading rebounders: Lakers -- O'Neal and Fisher 3; Pistons -- Ben Wallace 5, Rasheed Wallace and Prince 2.

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