TEXAS 2-STEP WORKS : LAKERS FINISH TRIP BY SPANKING SPURS LAKERS 99, SAN ANTONIO 92.
Byline: Marc Stein Marc Stein is a sports reporter. He began writing for ESPN.com in 2000 and signed on full-time in 2002 to serve as the site's senior National Basketball Association writer. Daily News Staff Writer
So they can complete a Texas trip without a stumble at the finish.
The Lakers themselves had begun to wonder, when Wednesday's shot at redemption took the look of yet another brick at the Alamodome.
Headed for exactly what they didn't want to bring home - a repeat of November's embarrassing setback here to a Spurs team playing without the injured David Robinson David Robinson or Dave Robinson is a name shared by the following individuals:
Down by seven points to start the final quarter, the Lakers were overjoyed o·ver·joy
tr.v. o·ver·joyed, o·ver·joy·ing, o·ver·joys
To fill with joy; delight.
o to emerge with a seven-point triumph that pushed their record to 33-12 and completed a 3-0 road trip that started with an emotional win in Seattle before Tuesday's uneven performance in Dallas.
``We've had two games here in succession that I think a lot of teams would have gone ahead and lost,'' Lakers coach Del Harris said after his side nearly duplicated its 95-82 setback on this same court Nov. 13, which had dropped L.A.'s regular-season record at the Alamodome to 0-7.
``You could look at the fact that we got behind teams that are undermanned and down in the standings, or you can note that we found a way to win when things aren't going too well.
``I know a lot of teams I've coached that would have lost these games.''
Throughout the season, these are exactly the sort of games the Lakers have dropped - road dates at the end of the trip after beating someone big early in the journey.
The most notable example is the November date right here, which came the night after a stirring double-overtime victory in Houston. Then and now, the Spurs (11-30) were without Robinson, which for some reason is the Lakers' problem.
L.A. trailed 74-67 to start the final period after San Antonio's Dominique Wilkins (28 points, 12 rebounds) drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
To rally, the Lakers needed rookie Kobe Bryant Kobe Bean Bryant (born July 23 1978 - making his second ) is an American All-Star shooting guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA NBA
1. National Basketball Association
2. National Boxing Association
NBA (US) n abbr (= National Basketball Association) → Basketball-Dachverband (= start - to score eight of his 19 points down the stretch in support of Eddie Jones, who had 11 of his team-high 23 points in the period.
Jones, incidentally, was carrying his club despite needing two stitches in the first quarter to patch up a bloody lip, smacking smack·ing
Brisk; vigorous; spanking: a smacking breeze.
Noun 1. smacking - the act of smacking something; a blow delivered with an open hand
slap, smack his shooting elbow on Bryant's left jaw after a third-quarter tip-in and overcoming an 0-for-7 start from the floor.
``Sometimes we forget how important these games are,'' Jones said.
Chances are Jones won't be able to dismiss this one from memory anytime soon. Already eager to atone for his 3-for-11, six-point effort in Dallas - which came on the day he was named an All-Star for the first time - he had to make an unexpected detour to the locker room just 3:16 in after his lip intercepted a Cadillac Anderson Gregory Wayne "Cadillac" Anderson (born June 22, 1964 in Houston, Texas) is an American former professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association. elbow.
When Jones returned, his shot was still missing. But by connecting on only two of his first 10 attempts from the floor, it turned out being a boost. The slow start, combined with the pain in his lip and forearm, made Jones more determined than he has ever been.
``I was mad as hell,'' he said. ``I've never been so mad in a game.''
It showed in the satisfaction Jones displayed as each of his next four 3-pointers fell, rallying the Lakers within a point at 80-79.
It showed even more when he tried on successive possessions to ram dunks over a host of San Antonio defenders with just inside six minutes remaining. Both of the jam attempts missed, and neither one drew a foul, but they clearly inspired the Lakers, who grabbed the lead for good seconds later.
``That's why he's an All-Star,'' Harris said.
Jones sealed it by stealing a Sean Elliott Sean Michael Elliott (born February 2, 1968 in Tucson, Arizona) is a retired American National Basketball Association player.
Elliott played high school basketball at Cholla High School in Tucson, Arizona and played college basketball at the University of Arizona, under the pass with 1:09 remaining and hitting both free throws for a 96-88 advantage.
``It shows we're moving in the right direction,'' said Nick Van Exel Nickey (Nick) Maxwell Van Exel (born November 27 1971 in Kenosha, Wisconsin) is a retired American professional basketball player in the NBA. Van Exel, a 6'1" left-handed point guard, was most well known for his flashy style of play and his ability to hit critical shots during , who added 14 points, 12 assists and a key steal of his own by jumping in front of a Wilkins pass with 1:32 left and the Spurs down only five (93-88).
``There's still work that needs to be done, but I'll be able to sleep with a smile on the plane.''
Layups: Even after the lackluster outings in Texas, Van Exel is convinced that the Lakers have wrapped up the Pacific Division title, even with Seattle just 1-1/2 games back with 30-odd games to go entering Wednesday's play. ``If I'm wrong, I'll buy everyone on Seattle . . . whatever,'' Van Exel said. ``For less than $100.'' He then added: ``I'm not saying Seattle is out of it (for the playoffs). I'm talking I'm Talking was a 1980s Australian funk-pop rock band, noted for launching vocalist Kate Ceberano. History
After the break-up of the Melbourne-based experimental funk band Essendon Airport in 1983, members Robert Goodge (guitar), Ian Cox (saxophone) and Barbara Hogarth about the division.'' . . . Robert Horry Robert Horry (born August 25, 1970 in Harford County, Maryland) is an American National Basketball Association basketball player. Currently playing for the San Antonio Spurs, Horry is is known for his ability to make clutch shots in big games. sat out his second straight game because of a sprained left ankle, keeping Bryant in the starting lineup For the line of action figures, see .
A starting lineup in sports refers to the set of players actively participating in the event when the game begins. The players in the starting lineup are commonly referred to as starters, whereas the others are substitutes . ``I can run,'' Horry said. ``Just don't ask me to turn left.'' . . . O'Neal and Jones give the Lakers two All-Stars for the first time since 1992 (Magic Johnson “Earvin Johnson” redirects here. For the Milwaukee Bucks center, see Ervin Johnson.
Earvin Effay Johnson, Jr. (born August 14, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan), nicknamed Magic and James Worthy). In fact, L.A. hasn't had a player in the All-Star Game since '92 because Cedric Ceballos, the last Laker to be selected, couldn't play in the '95 game because of an injury.
In Kobe Bryant's second NBA start, he scored eight of his 19 points down the stretch to help seal the win. Most important were two 3-pointers.
His first tied the game at 82-82.
His second pushed the Lakers to a 91-84 lead.
After both, he pumped his fists vigorously. That's what 18-year-olds are expected to do.
2 Photos, Box
Photo: (1--color) no caption (Kobe Bryant)
(2) Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal slams home a hoop over the Spurs' Greg Anderson.
Box: KOBE'S NIGHT (see text)