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Archive for Monday, May 27, 2002

Lakers rally to top Kings - L.A. 100, Sacramento 99

May 27, 2002

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— It was pure Hollywood.

With the Los Angeles Lakers down by two points with a second left, Robert Horry knew his place. What he didn't know was how he was going to get his hands on the ball.

Sacramento's Chris Webber, left, protects the ball while being
guarded by Robert Horry of Los Angeles. The Lakers rallied to
defeated Sacramento, 100-99, Sunday at Los Angeles and tied the
Western Conference finals 2-2. Horry hit the game-winning basket.

Sacramento's Chris Webber, left, protects the ball while being guarded by Robert Horry of Los Angeles. The Lakers rallied to defeated Sacramento, 100-99, Sunday at Los Angeles and tied the Western Conference finals 2-2. Horry hit the game-winning basket.

Teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal missed their shots, and Sacramento center Vlade Divac tipped a rebound blindly away from the basket.

Then came something right out of the movies. The ball headed straight for Horry, who sank a three-pointer as time expired and rallied the Lakers from a 24-point deficit to a 100-99 victory Sunday.

The win tied the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.

"I wanted the three all the way," Horry said. "I stayed right where I could get it. When it came rolling out, it was like, 'Oh, look what I got."'

Game 5 is Tuesday in Sacramento, with Game 6 Friday back at Staples Center.

Horry scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers willed themselves to an amazing victory in a game they badly needed to keep their championship hopes alive. They made it as dramatic as possible, falling behind as the Kings played an outstanding first half.

But nobody in the Lakers' locker room was surprised by the blind tip by Divac that put the ball in Horry's hands. After two straight championships and more dramatic finishes than they can count, the Lakers expect fortune to smile on them almost every time.

"I didn't draw it up like that, so don't ask me," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said with a grin. "But we got the shot we wanted."

The Kings led by eight points with less than four minutes left, but Horry pulled the Lakers within three with a three-pointer with 1:39 left. O'Neal, who finished with 27 points and 18 rebounds, hit two free throws to make it 98-97 with 26.9 seconds left.

Divac made one of two free throws with 11.8 seconds to play. In the final seconds, Bryant missed a layup and O'Neal missed a tip-in, but Divac swatted the rebound out to Horry, who buried the straightaway shot before being mobbed by his teammates.

Horry hit the final shot, but an outstanding second half of defense kept the Kings from grabbing control of the series. Now, the Kings are wondering what forces beyond the game they must conquer to knock off the Lakers.

"Just a lucky shot, that's all," said Divac, who had 23 points. "You don't have concentration. He just threw it up. If it goes in, it goes in."

It wasn't Horry's first time as a long-distance postseason hero. In Game 3 of last season's NBA Finals, his three-pointer with 47 seconds left finished off Philadelphia.

Earlier in the spring at Portland, he hit a decisive three-pointer with 2.1 seconds left. In the conference semifinals against San Antonio, Horry's three-pointer with 56 seconds remaining gave the Lakers a seven-point cushion as they finished off the Spurs.

The Kings blew out Los Angeles in Game 3 Friday night. Faced with the prospect of a 3-1 series deficit which the Lakers haven't rallied to overcome in 31 years Los Angeles got another dose of the magic that seems to follow this franchise.

"This one should knock the cobwebs out," Horry said. "Hopefully we can go out (to Sacramento) and get some wins and get back to the old Laker basketball."

Sacramento roared to its second spectacular start at Staples Center, scoring 40 points in the first quarter and taking a 14-point lead to halftime. But the Kings fumbled through the second half, and Divac missed a free throw with 11.8 seconds left.

The victory came one day after New Jersey's unprecedented fourth-quarter playoff collapse against Boston in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

After taking a 21-point lead into the final quarter, the Nets were outscored 41-16 in the fourth and lost 94-90.

The Celtics lead that series 2-1.

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