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Archive for Monday, April 29, 2002

Horry’s late three helps Lakers sweep, 92-91

April 29, 2002

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— The Los Angeles Lakers used to have a bitter rivalry with Portland. Now the only intrigue is watching how many points the Lakers can spot the Trail Blazers before coming back to torment them.

Robert Horry took a pass from Kobe Bryant and made a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to cap a furious last-minute comeback, and the Lakers completed their second straight three-game sweep of the Blazers with a 92-91 victory Sunday.

"Did I want the ball? No, I was kind of scared," said Horry, a veteran of four NBA championship teams with Los Angeles and Houston. "I just threw it up there, and I didn't know if it was going in or out."

Bryant knew.

"It's cash," Bryant said when asked what he thought when the ball left Horry's hand. "He's done it so many times, it's cash."

The finish was reminiscent of Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals, when Portland blew a 15-point fourth-quarter lead and lost 89-84. Including that surreal game, the Lakers have won seven straight postseason meetings with the Blazers.

Portland had a much smaller lead Sunday, but there was less time to watch it slip away.

Rasheed Wallace's follow-up slam on a miss by Scottie Pippen put the Blazers up 89-84 with 39 seconds left, and Wallace's free throw made it 90-86 with 17.1 seconds left.

Bryant immediately made a 3-pointer with 12.7 seconds to go, and Pippen missed one of his free throws after being fouled.

With the Lakers trailing by two, Rick Fox inbounded the ball to Bryant, who was guarded by the self-proclaimed "Kobe Stopper," Ruben Patterson. Bryant went right and flung the ball to Horry, who was waiting in the corner off to Bryant's right. Pippen, trying to help out with Bryant, was late in running at Horry, and Horry swished the jumper.

"Kobe made a big shot that 3-pointer to give us hope and Scottie missed a free throw, and the door was open," Horry said. "I was surprised that Pippen bit that hard. I figured Pip would fake to Kobe and try to deny me the rock."

The Blazers had one last chance, but Pippen's inbound pass went over Wallace's head, and Horry rebounded with 0.9 seconds left.

Pippen took the blame for his defense on Horry's basket.

"I didn't get out to Horry, basically, and it cost us the ballgame," Pippen said.

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