Portland 128, L.A. Lakers 120 (2OT)
PORTLAND, Ore., April 14 (Ticker) --
Let's hope it was a playoff
In a game that had just about everything, the Portland Trail
Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in double overtime,
128-120, as Bonzi Wells scored 33 points and made all the big
plays down the stretch.
"I don't hate them as people but I love to beat them," Wells
said. "I hate to lose to them."
You name it, this game had it. Portland's Scottie Pippen was
ejected in the second quarter after flinging the ball into the
stands. The Trail Blazers erased a big fourth-quarter deficit
and forced overtime on a perfectly designed inbounds play by a
NBA TV highlights from|
Bonzi in the Crunch:
Rasheed Wallace's clutch three sent the game into overtime.
In the first overtime, the Lakers built an eight-point lead,
then blew it after the referees put time back on the clock to
correct their own mistake. On the verge of losing, Los Angeles
forced a second extra session as Derek Fisher
serious taunting to make two free throws in the final second.
Wells took charge in the second overtime, finding fresh legs
when Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the Lakers
appeared finally to wear down. Wells had a steal and breakaway
dunk, two free throws and a driving dunk to give the Blazers
control for good.
"We gave it away twice -- in regulation and in the first
overtime -- so I thought it was appropriate that it finished the
way it did," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "You can't have
that many lives out there on the court."
The Trail Blazers won despite committing five technical fouls
and a flagrant foul. Following Pippen's ejection, Rasheed Wallace -- who leads the NBA with 26 technicals -- actually
acted as peacemaker.
"Technicals are nothing new for this team," Wells said. "We
don't even talk about them. We're a very emotional team, a very
aggressive team. Sometimes, when you have emotion like that
out there, you scare people. Maybe we scared them."
About all the game was missing was Hack-a-Shaq, which O'Neal
neutralized by making 10-of-13 free throws.
"This was a jacked-up game, from the officiating to the plays
that we ran," Lakers forward Robert Horry said. "It was just a
"It was kind of a wild affair, like street ball," Blazers guard
Steve Kerr said.
The nationally televised game lasted a marathon 3:19 and
rekindled a rivalry that had been one-sided of late. Portland
has been eliminated from the playoffs by Los Angeles in each of
the last two seasons and the teams could meet again in the first
round of the playoffs if the current seeds hold.
"Everybody says, 'You don't want to see the Lakers,'" Blazers
forward Ruben Patterson said. "I'm not scared of them and I know
my teammates are not scared of them. If we go out there and
play hard and do the things we did tonight, we can beat
"We feel fine," Bryant said. "It's a game that we let slip away,
and we know that."
Wallace had 25 points and 13 rebounds and Patterson added 17 and
10 for the Blazers (48-33), who cannot finish any lower than
sixth in the Western Conference.
O'Neal had 36 points and 11 rebounds and Bryant scored 23 points
for the Lakers (56-24), who are third but could drop to fourth
if they finish with a worse record than Dallas.
Lindsey Hunter's 3-pointer gave L.A. its largest lead at 85-72
with 9:51 left in the fourth quarter and the Lakers still held a
94-84 lead on O'Neal's turnaround jumper with 5:42 to go. But
Wells, who scored 18 points in the period, had two free throws
and a 3-pointer in a 9-0 run that made it a one-point game.
"Bonzi has been great the last few games," Cheeks said. "He has
the mind-set that he can score on anybody and he's beginning to
show me that he can."
With 3:16 left, O'Neal made two free throws. Between the shots,
Patterson was called for a technical when he threw Rick Fox to
the floor while the two battled for position.
On the next possession, Horry returned the favor, receiving a
technical after a shoving match with Patterson. A 3-pointer by
Wallace pulled Portland into a 97-97 tie with 3:01 to play.
"When we get into a heated battle, sometimes it gets out of
hand," Cheeks said. "We're not the only team that does that.
But ours can be a little magnified because we are the Blazers."
Two short jumpers by Bryant gave the Lakers a 103-99 lead with
43 seconds left. Wells made a 3-pointer and Bryant made two
free throws for a 105-102 edge before Portland called time with
4.9 seconds remaining.
Wells threw a crosscourt inbounds pass to Wallace, who had
worked a double screen with Kerr. He was wide open when he
caught the ball on the right wing and drained the tying shot
with 2.5 seconds left. Horry missed a 3-pointer at the horn.
Fisher and Horry had 3-pointers around a banker by O'Neal as the
Lakers ran to a 113-105 lead with 2:06 left in the first
overtime. After a basket and missed free throw by Patterson,
the teams traded empty possessions and Portland appeared dead,
down six with just over a minute to go.
But referee Bennett Salvatore, responding to complaints from
Portland's bench, checked a previous foul call against O'Neal
and found that it had put the Lakers over the limit. He
restored 23 seconds to the game clock and put Wallace on the
line for two free throws with 1:34 to play.
A steal by Wallace led to a layup by Damon Stoudamire.
Patterson stripped Bryant and went in for the tying layup with
49 seconds left. And after O'Neal missed, Wells put home
Wallace's missed 3-pointer for a 115-113 lead with 4.7 seconds
to go, completing a second stunning comeback.
With a foul to give, Stoudamire inexplicably fouled Fisher in
the act of shooting with 0.8 seconds left. Fisher made the
first, then spent 30 seconds trying to ignore the taunting and
stalking of Patterson and Wells before sinking the second.
Wells' steal and breakaway dunk with 4:01 left in the second
overtime gave the Blazers the lead for good. He made two foul
shots before Kerr's 3-pointer provided a 124-117 lead with 2:27
Wells answered O'Neal's basket with a thunderous driving dunk.
Patterson added another after two from the line by Stoudamire as
Portland pulled away in the final minute.
"It was a heckuva a game, win or lose," Cheeks said. "But when
you win it, it's a helluva game."
Stoudamire had 18 points and 12 assists for the Blazers, who
shot 48 percent (47-of-98) from the field and made 10-of-28
3-pointers. Wells made 4-of-6 from the arc and Wallace sank
Fisher scored 14 points and Fox added 12 for the Lakers, who
shot 45 percent (39-of-87) and made 11-of-23 3-pointers. Los
Angeles surrendered 35 points on 20 turnovers.
The Lakers held a 45-42 lead with 2:20 left in the first half
when Pippen reacted to what he thought was a foul call by
throwing the ball, discus-style, into the stands. Salvatore
immediately hit him with a technical, then another for arguing.
"Scottie's been around long enough," Cheeks said. "He
understands about officials. So he truly believed that he was
Pippen, who had been the best player in the game to that point
with 14 points and five assists, walked off the court, flinging
his wristbands and headband into the stands. The Rose Garden
crowd responded by tossing dozens of Bill Walton stuffed dolls
-- given away as part of a 25th anniversary celebration of
Portland's 1977 championship team -- onto the court.
"He just chucked the ball up in the stands and then they started
throwing Bill Walton dolls," Bryant said. "I'm telling you that
scared the hell out of me."
Wallace stood next to Salvatore, hoping his presence would
shield the referee.
"All you have to do is walk on the floor and you're a calming
force on this team," Kerr said. "It's nuts. It's just
unbelievable with all the technicals, yelling and screaming."
Portland scored just one basket the rest of the half and fell
behind, 52-45. LA took a 77-70 lead into the fourth quarter and
did not trail again until late in the first overtime.