LOS ANGELES, May 8 (AP)
-- After making NBA history, Shaquille O'Neal
didn't seem overly impressed.
|Kobe Bryant shoots over Valde Divac on Tuesday night.|
Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE Photos
|NBA.com TV highlights:28.8+ |
Everyone else was.
O'Neal became the first player to record back-to-back 40-point, 20-rebound efforts in the playoffs Tuesday night, getting 43 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Lakers past the Sacramento Kings 96-90.
"I'm the first?" O'Neal asked.
Then, he feigned breaking into tears before saying: "I'm just playing at a high level, taking high-percentage shots. My teammates are looking for me, my shots are falling. The true test is if I can do in at Sacramento.
"We've been playing fabulous these last 13 games, we just have to keep it up."
The defending NBA champion Lakers, 5-0 in the playoffs after winning their last eight regular-season games, lead the Kings 2-0 in their best-of-seven second-round series, which continues Friday night at Arco Arena.
O'Neal went over, around and through the Kings for the second time in three days, overpowering the likes of Vlade Divac
, Scot Pollard
and even Chris Webber
in dominating the inside again.
He had 44 points and 21 rebounds in the Lakers' 108-105 victory in Game 1 Sunday.
It didn't seem to matter what the Kings tried, because nothing worked.
"Shaq was just a handful again," Kings coach Rick Adelman
said. "He's getting the ball, he's gone before we can get to him."
When asked what the Kings can do about O'Neal, Sacramento's Peja Stojakovic
replied, "Call 911."
"Wow, that's impressive," Lakers forward Rick Fox
said when informed of O'Neal's feat. "They use the same defensive scheme, they're going to see it three times." Kobe Bryant
added 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Horace Grant
had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers.
"He's playing unbelievable basketball," Bryant said of O'Neal. "Sacramento can't do anything with it. It is simple basketball, just get it inside.
"By no means is the series over," Bryant added. "We have to go up there and play Friday night like it's our last game."
Webber led the Kings with 22 points and 18 rebounds, but was only 9-of-26 from the field.
"I don't know what to say about Shaq," he said. "I know we have to work harder. The way I feel is, if you go down, go down swinging."
Stojakovic added 20 points, all but six in the fourth quarter, and Bobby Jackson
scored 14 for the Kings.
Stojakovic, who scored 37 points in Sacramento's series-clinching win over Phoenix last week, was 7-of-18 overall and 2-of-9 entering the final period.
With Bryant scoring five points and O'Neal four, the Lakers went on an 11-2 run to start the second half, snapping a 43-all tie to go ahead for good.
The Kings helped out by missing their first six shots of the third period, and it wasn't long before Adelman replaced Stojakovic, Divac and Jason Williams
It didn't do any good. Bryant's six points sparked a 14-5 run to finish the third quarter, putting the Lakers ahead 74-56.
Bryant, who had 17 points in the third quarter of Game 1, had 13 in Game 2 as the Lakers outscored the Kings 31-13.
It was 88-71 midway through the fourth quarter before the Kings went on an 11-2 run to draw within eight points with a little over three minutes left.
O'Neal made a jump hook with 2:33 left to make it 92-82, but baskets by Stojakovic and Webber brought Sacramento within six with 1:02 remaining. Jon Barry
's 3-pointer with 8 seconds to play made it 94-90 before Bryant made two free throws to clinch the victory.
O'Neal, who had 11 offensive rebounds in Game 1, grabbed two on the opening possession of the game before scoring on a dunk.
He had 10 points and eight rebounds in the opening 6 1/2 minutes and finished the first quarter with 14 points and 11 rebounds, including five on the offensive end, as the Lakers took a 25-15 lead.
The Kings made only four of 21 shots and were outrebounded 21-11 in the period, but the Lakers committed seven turnovers -- three by O'Neal.
Sacramento came alive at the start of the second quarter, with Jackson's two baskets triggering an 13-0 run that gave the Kings their first lead.
O'Neal (22) and Bryant (10) accounted for all but 11 of the Lakers' first-half points. O'Neal finished with seven offensive rebounds. Notes:
Each team had 11 players available; Sacramento's Nick Anderson
has a sore right shoulder and Los Angeles' Greg Foster
has a sprained right foot. Both seldom-used reserves hope to be ready Friday night, if needed. ... The NBA playoff record for most rebounds in a game is 41 by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain against Boston in 1967, and the record in one quarter is 19 by Boston's Bill Russell against the Lakers on April 18, 1962. ... Ron Harper
, a starter for the Lakers last season, played for the first time in three months, entering the game early in the fourth quarter and playing nearly six minutes. He had been sidelined with a knee injury. ... The Lakers got only one point from their reserves, a fourth-quarter free throw by Robert Horry