Lakers Universe, NBA Playoffs 2002 Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers. Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal vs Wallace, Scotie Pippen, Stoudamire. The first round of the NBA Playoffs 2002... pictures and game recaps.

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First Round
Los Angeles Lakers 3 vs. Portand Trail Blazers 0

Game 1: Portland 97 - Lakers 95 -at L.A.L. Game Recap & picture
Game 2: Portland 96 - L.A. Lakers 103 at L.A.L. Game Recap & Picture
Game 3: Lakers 92 - Portland 91 at Por Game Recap & Picture

GAME 1:  Lakers 95 - Trail Blazers 87

The old recipe.

Playoff picture, click to enlarge LOS ANGELES The Los Angeles Lakers began pursuit of their third straight NBA title with a familiar formula -- plenty of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, solid defense and a win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Bryant scored 34 points and O'Neal added 25 as the Lakers methodically turned back the Trail Blazers, 95-87, in Game One of their Western Conference first-round series.

In winning the title the last two seasons, the Lakers have eliminated the Blazers, gaining the upper hand in a heated rivalry. They won in seven games in the 2000 conference finals and swept last year's first-round series.

Bryant did not shoot particularly well, making just 10-of-28 from the field. But he dominated for extended stretches and added seven rebounds and three blocks.

O'Neal was his usual unstoppable self. He made 10-of-17 shots and pulled down nine rebounds, fouling out overmatched Blazers center Dale Davis.

Bryant and O'Neal helped the Lakers hold the Blazers to under 37 percent shooting (30-of-82). Los Angeles tightened up its defense in the third quarter, when it held Portland to 18 points and took the lead for good.

The Lakers have won 17 of their last 18 playoff games. Four of those have come against Portland, which will try to get even in Game Two of the best-of-five series here on Thursday.

Rasheed Wallace had 25 points and 14 rebounds for Portland, which was within one point early in the fourth quarter but could not get over the hump.

A three-point play by Derek Anderson, who scored 22 points off the bench, made it 68-67. Derek Fisher answered with a three-point play to trigger a 14-3 run.

O'Neal had consecutive hoops and Rick Fox hit a 3-pointer before Bryant nearly faked Scottie Pippen off his feet and buried a 22-footer for an 82-70 lead with 8:05 left.

A 3-pointer by Pippen made it 82-75 and Bryant flipped in a driving finger roll. A 3-pointer by Wallace made 84-78 and Bryant threw in a reverse layup while drawing a foul. His free throw opened a nine-point lead with 5:07 to go and the Blazers got no closer than five points thereafter.

Bryant's driving layup early in the third period gave LA a 52-50 lead and began a 9-0 burst. He added four free throws around a three-point play by O'Neal.

Fisher scored 12 points for the Lakers, who shot 43 percent (32-of-75), including 8-of-20 from the arc. Ruben Patterson scored 13 points and Pippen added 11 for the Blazers.

The Lakers were sputtering late in the first quarter when Patterson, a former Laker and self-proclaimed "Kobe-stopper," entered the game. Bryant immediately scored Los Angeles' last eight points of the period, cutting the deficit to 23-19.

The Quotes

Ruben Patterson (Por): "We can match up with these guys, they were just more aggressive on us in the second half."

Kobe Bryant (LAL): "Our defense took over in the third quarter, we found the keys to their rhythm."


Kobe Bryant (LAL) 34 pts 7 reb 3 block 2 steals
Shaquille O'Neal (LAL) 25 pts 9 reb
Fisher (LAL) 12 pts 6 reb
Rasheed Wallace (Por) 25 pts 14 reb

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GAME 2:  Lakers 103 - Trail Blazers 96

Portland out of control

Playoff picture, click to enlargeLOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Lakers are living up to their expectations while the Portland Trail Blazers are living down to theirs.

Shaquille O'Neal collected 31 points and 14 rebounds as the Lakers took a commanding 2-0 lead in its Western Conference first-round series after a 103-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, who again demonstrated the lack of composure that has become their trademark.

The defending champions never trailed and opened up an 18-8 lead on a 3-pointer by Kobe Bryant and a jumper by Derek Fisher. A three-point play by Fisher opened up a 48-34 lead with just over three minutes left in the first half and the outcome was never really in question.

Portland's propensity for mental miscues can never be questioned and the Trail Blazers made plenty of stupid plays to help Los Angeles' cause. One instance was by Ruben Patterson, who was too aggressive in boxing out Fisher with time running out in the half and was whistled for a foul. Fisher made two foul shots for a 51-37 cushion.

Scottie Pippen and Bryant got tangled up for a loose ball midway through the third quarter, which caused players from both teams to converge. That merely served to fire up the Lakers as Bryant and O'Neal did all the scoring in a 9-2 spurt for a 67-50 lead with 4:12 to go.

"I like a physical game," O'Neal said. "When they play physical with me, they're just playing into my hands. My guys are looking for me down low and I just did what I do."

Bryant capped the run with a technical foul shot after Dale Davis was ejected. Davis fouled O'Neal and protested by kicking the ball into the stands for his second technical. All that was left was a technical foul by volatile Portland forward Rasheed Wallace, who picked up the Blazers' fourth with 2:44 remaining.

Wallace had a shot rejected by Robert Horry with 8:36 remaining in the fourth. That led to a fast break for Los Angeles with Bryant feeding O'Neal for a left-handed dunk and an 87-67 bulge.

The Blazers actually made a late charge and Pippen's 3-pointer capped a 19-4 run to cut the deficit to 98-92 with 1:43 remaining. Portland got the ball back and had a chance to get closer but Steve Kerr, considered to be one of the team's more cerebral players, inexplicably launched an off-balance 3-pointer that misfired. The Lakers made 5-of-6 foul shots to close the game.

Bryant finished with 19 points despite a horrific shooting night, making 5-of-21 attempts. Fisher netted 18 points and Rick Fox added 13.

But O'Neal was the dominant force as usual for Los Angeles. He made 12-of-20 shots as he helped Los Angeles hold a 52-38 edge in points in the paint.

O'Neal's power game was so overwhelming that Patterson was whistled for a flagrant foul on the 7-1 behemoth in the fourth quarter and tried to apologize. O'Neal brushed him off as Patterson and the Blazers protested.

Wallace poured in 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Portland, which has lost six straight playoff games to Los Angeles. Pippen fouled out with 20 and nine but the Trail Blazers shot just 29.5 percent (13-of-44) in the first half.

O'Neal made 7-of-9 foul shots as Los Angeles took advantage of 31 personal fouls by Portland to convert 30-of-36 attempts from the line. Fisher made 9-of-10 and Bryant was 8-of-9.

The Quotes

Ruben Patterson (Por): ""That wasn't a flagrant foul. How can you hurt that big old monster? I barely hit him."

Shaquille O'Neal (LAL): "I like a physical game, when they play physical with me, they're just playing into my hands."


Shaquille O'Neal (LAL) 31 pts 14 reb 2 blocks
Kobe Bryant (LAL) 19 pts 6 reb 5 assists 2 steals
Derek Fisher (LAL) 18 pts / Fox (LAL) 13 pts
Rasheed Wallace (POR): 31 pts 11 reb

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GAME 3:  Lakers 92 - Trail Blazers 91

Robert did his job.

click to enlarge, Playoffs 2002 picture, Robert Horry 3pt game winning playPORTLAND, OREGON - With the Lakers trailing, 90-86, Bryant - freed up by O'Neal's screen - hit a 3-pointer with 12.7 seconds left that had the Lakers within 90-89.

After Scottie Pippen hit one of two free throws with 10.8 seconds left that gave the Blazers a 91-89 lead, Bryant drove from the top of the key past Ruben "Not quite the Kobe stopper" Patterson and got close enough to the basket to get off a shot. Pippen sagged in the lane to help, leaving Horry alone in the corner.

Bryant hit the open man, and Horry knocked down his 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left giving the Lakers a 92-91 victory and a sweep of their opening-round playoff series against Portland.

It's called championship mystique. The Los Angeles Lakers have it and Scottie Pippen has lost it.

One of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players, Pippen won six championships as Michael Jordan's sidekick with the Chicago Bulls. But he left the Bulls as part of the dismantling of the dynasty.

Pippen has spent one season with Houston and three with Portland. Each time, he has been eliminated from the playoffs by Los Angeles, going out in the first round 3 times.

This one had to be particularly painful. In the final 10 seconds, he missed a free throw, blew a defensive assignment and threw away an inbounds pass, turning a certain victory into a season-ending defeat.

The Lakers eliminated the Trail Blazers for the third straight year, the last two being first-round sweeps.

Pippen had his usual solid all-around game with 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. But none of that helped Portland down the stretch.

Bryant scored 25 points and O'Neal added 21, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, who have won 19 of their last 20 playoff games, including 7 in a row. Wallace had 20 points and 12 boards and Bonzi Wells scored 19 points for the Blazers, who have lost 7 consecutive playoff games, all to the Lakers.

The Blazers limited O'Neal to one basket in the first half but still trailed, 50-41, as the Lakers closed with a 14-4 surge. But Los Angeles missed its first 10 shots of the third quarter, and a 3-pointer and two free throws by Pippen capped a 13-2 run that gave Portland a 54-52 edge.

Portland led by as many as five points in the fourth quarter. After a fast-break layup by Rick Fox gave Los Angeles an 84-82 lead with 4:08 to play, Damon Stoudamire made a 3-pointer and Wells sank two free throws. A follow dunk by Rasheed Wallace gave the Blazers an 89-84 lead with 39 seconds left. Rick Fox answered with a layup and Wallace made 1-of-2 from the line with 17 seconds to go.

It was another clutch playoff shot by Horry, who scored just eight points. He was a key component of Houston's championship teams in 1994-95 and made a big 3-pointer in Game Three of last year's NBA Finals.

O'Neal was 11-of-16 from the line, and Kobe 3-of-4 behind the arc. Fox scored 16 points and Fisher added 11 for the Lakers, who shot 46 percent (32-of-70) from the field.

Anderson scored 12 points for the Blazers, who shot 38 percent (32-of-84) but held a 53-37 rebounding edge.

The Quotes

Robert Horry (LAL): "I got to spin the ball and get it on the seams, if I can spin it and get it on the seams, nine times out of 10 I'm gonna knock it down."

"I asked if he was tired, he said 'I'm all right,' and I said 'your decisions aren't all right,' " Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He said 'I'll get better.' And he did get better."


Shaquille O'Neal (LAL) 21 pts 11 reb 7 assists
Kobe Bryant (LAL) 25 pts 7 assist 2 steals
Rick Fox (LAL) 16 pts 3 steals
Robert Horry (LAL) 8 pts 1-4 3pt
Rasheed Wallace (Por): 20 pts 12 reb
Pippen (Por) 18 pts 11 reb 8 assist

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