TROUBLE DEEP IN TEXAS.Byline: STEVE DILBECK
SAN ANTONIO San Antonio (săn ăntō`nēō, əntōn`), city (1990 pop. 935,933), seat of Bexar co., S central Tex., at the source of the San Antonio River; inc. 1837. - This is trouble like the Lakers have never known. Deep, soul-searching trouble.
The Spurs are growing by the game, their confidence swelling, that ``impervious quality'' more secure than ever, their coach loose and relaxed.
The Lakers are shrinking, still confused, somehow still suffering ``miscommunications'' after 89 games, their legendary coach's frustration becoming more obvious by the game.
The Lakers are not just down 2-0 after Wednesday's 95-85 loss to the Spurs, they are a team failing to rise to the moment. A team allowing the Spurs to impose their will. A team that right now appears inferior to its opponent.
The signs are everywhere, and not just in the Lakers' incredible melting performances in the fourth quarter. For the second consecutive game, the Lakers clawed their way back into the game, only for the Spurs to out-execute them in final period.
The Spurs, looking cohesive and collected. The Spurs, watching a new superstar point guard explode.
The Lakers, in the wrong places and bickering bick·er
intr.v. bick·ered, bick·er·ing, bick·ers
1. To engage in a petty, bad-tempered quarrel; squabble. See Synonyms at argue.
The Lakers, watching their superstar point guard look old.
The Lakers talked about going inside more to Shaquille O'Neal Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal (pronounced "shak-KEEL") (born March 6, 1972 in Newark, New Jersey), frequently referred to simply as Shaq, is an American professional basketball player, generally regarded as one of the most dominant in the National Basketball Association (NBA). , did, and it didn't matter.
How many times have they lost when Shaq was going for 30-plus points and 15 rebounds? He was 15 of 21 from the field to finish with 32 points nd 15 rebounds, and it wasn't enough.
``We just have to go out and do it,'' O'Neal said. ``That was enough talk.''
The Lakers fell behind by 16 points - in the first quarter. They hardly looked like a team that came ready to play. A team determined to win back the championship from the Spurs.
They started to creep back into it in the third quarter, but after pulling to within 67-58, Tim Duncan Timothy "Tim" Theodore Duncan (born April 25 1976 in Christiansted, St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands) is an American professional basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 6'11" (2. was left alone and slammed in a monstrous bucket.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson's frustration erupted. He called a timeout, screamed at Karl Malone
``We had some miscommunications, and that's my fault,'' Jackson said.
Miscommunications on where to be on the floor, what to run, when to react - almost 90 games after these ``four future Hall of Famers'' have been together.
``It's been typical of our year, miscommunications as a team,'' Malone said.
That was not the only time Wednesday that the Lakers' play drew Jackson's ire. Instead of coming together in the playoffs, the Lakers flirt with coming apart.
It is two games, and as all are quick to point out, it takes four to advance. But right now there is little the Lakers can put their arms around as reason to believe all will suddenly be right when they return to Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. for the next two games.
``I feel like this team can turn it around,'' Malone said. ``I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. how specifically, but I know we need to start the game like we believe we can.''
Tony Parker This article is about the French basketball player. For the American basketball player, see Anthony Parker. For other uses, see Anthony Parker (disambiguation).
William Anthony "Tony" Parker (born May 17 1982 is igniting the San Antonio attack. He had a career playoff-high 30 points and five assists. Lakers point guard Gary Payton
In two games, Parker has outscored Payton 50-11. It's a passing of the torch and it's burning the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant Kobe Bean Bryant (born July 23 1978 tried to go more inside to Shaq, just like Shaq's daddy wanted. Kobe finished with a game-high eight assists, but was 7 of 17 from the field. ) is an American All-Star shooting guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bruce Bowen Bruce Bowen Jr. (b. June 14 1971 in Merced, California) is an American professional National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball player. The 6'7", 200 lbs. Bowen plays small forward for the San Antonio Spurs. is making Kobe work hard for every shot. Truly, there are no easy shots for the Lakers. Only the Spurs ever find an easy basket.
Yet through Shaq's inside game and Kobe's persistence, the Lakers rallied from 19 points down to pull within 80-78 on a 17-foot jumper from Kobe with 5:51 to play.
And the Lakers never hit another field goal.
The fourth quarter, the period the Lakers used to own during the title runs, dominated again by the Spurs.
``Late in games they are just working harder than we are right now,'' Derek Fisher Derek Lamar Fisher (born August 9 1974 in Little Rock, Arkansas) is an American professional basketball player with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was with the Utah Jazz but asked to be released from his contract to care for his 10-month-old daughter, who has cancer. said.
Of course, when you get off to such pathetic starts, sometimes it's going to drain you to rally back.
``It looked like we ran out of gas again tonight getting back into the ballgame and didn't have enough left for the last four minutes of the game,'' Jackson said.
Nothing seems to come easily to the Lakers, while the Spurs are cruising on a 17-game winning streak and hearing the next playoff round call.
Now the Lakers can afford no mistakes. There can be no more winnable games lost in the fourth quarter. They have to go home and win both of the next games.
``It's critical,'' Fisher said.
Or it's all over. The grand dream, the return to the title.
The Lakers are in trouble like they never have been this season. That's a communication that should be clear.