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LAKERS INSIDE LOOK: OTHER LAKERS OFFER LITTLE SHAQ, KOBE NEED HELP, DON'T GET IT.

Byline: Rich Hammond Staff Writer

The Lakers went to Brian Shaw, and he gave them an air ball. They went to Lindsey Hunter, and he threw the ball out of bounds trying to make a no-look pass. They went to Rick Fox and Devean George, and their shots worked the rims more than a conscientious car detailer.

On a night when Kobe Bryant still didn't seem to be 100-percent healthy and Shaquille O'Neal had the consistency of gelatin, the Lakers needed a spark from some of their role players and didn't get it for much of their Game 3 loss to Sacramento.

``(The Kings) are coming out and only playing seven guys and we have to make them pay for that,'' said reserve guard Brian Shaw, the only possible exception to any criticism because he totaled 10 points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes.

``We weren't getting anybody in foul trouble, we weren't being aggressive enough and we weren't getting the ball to Shaq enough.''

Coach Phil Jackson turned to his bench frequently in the second and fourth quarters because the starters weren't getting things done, and while a lineup that included George and Shaw spurred the Lakers' desperate late rally, the role players also helped put the Lakers in their big hole.

Bryant struggled for the first three quarters, and the Lakers were unable to get the ball to O'Neal often enough. Even when they did, O'Neal was on and off, making all six shots in the second quarter but missing 6 of 7 in the third.

When that happens, the Lakers can usually count on Fisher to hit some outside shots, Robert Horry to hit a couple of 3-pointers or Rick Fox to provide some scrappy play around the basket and play strong defense. None of that happened Friday.

George, given his most substantial playing time of this postseason, made just 3 of 13 shots in a playoff career-high 27 minutes, although he at least played with a high energy level that seemed to help elevate the Laker veterans' play.

Hunter, another sparsely used guard, made two of his first five shots but struggled defensively and had three fouls in his first nine minutes. He almost had to be on the court because the Lakers got virtually nothing from Derek Fisher, Fox and Samaki Walker.

Hunter played the entire fourth quarter and scored 10 of his 14 points in that span.

``I felt I hadn't been aggressive recently,'' Hunter said. ``If I make 10 in a row or miss 10 in a row, I have to stay aggressive.''

Fisher (23 minutes, four points) continued his series-long slump, Fox made 1 of 9 shots from the field and Walker played just nine minutes and did not take a shot. In the fourth quarter, even when the Lakers rallied to get back in the game, Fox didn't get on the court, and Horry and Fisher played just one and two minutes, respectively.

``The guys that came off the bench left everything on the floor,'' Shaw said. ``Sometimes the starters are going to have off nights, and when that happens we have to come off the bench and make things happen. We just got in too big of a hole to climb out of.''

The only time the Lakers played well Friday was when they increased their defensive intensity, and that happened only late in each half.

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Photo:

Devean George expresses frustration Friday night. He was one of several Lakers not to come through when needed.

David Sprague/Staff Photographer
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 25, 2002
Words:592
Previous Article:KINGS INSIDE LOOK: CALL TO ARMS IS LONG DISTANCE WEBBER DEVASTATING FROM OUTSIDE.
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