Bucks actually win in playoffs

Milwaukee victory over Indiana ends decade of disappointment

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2000

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Milwaukee Bucks found their offense and shed a decade of playoff frustration.

Ray Allen and Sam Cassell scored 20 points apiece as Milwaukee beat Indiana 104-91 Thursday night, the Bucks' first playoff victory since 1990.

''We know we have a long journey ahead of us. We're taking small steps at a time,'' Allen said. ''You look at Indiana, they look forward to getting to the finals every year. Now it's time for us to go out and get some wins.''

The Bucks evened the best-of-five Eastern Conference series at one game apiece, taking the home-court advantage away from the rattled Pacers as the first-round series heads to Milwaukee for the next two games on Saturday and Monday.

''Our defense has been going pretty good for us. We're playing strong and aggressive,'' Cassell said. ''If we stop teams while we're scoring points, that's our best. ... It was good ball movement, just good ball movement.''

The Pacers, sluggish after five days since their last game, shot 39 percent.

''We can't point fingers at anybody. We just have to come back and play strong,'' Pacers coach Larry Bird said. ''I was really concerned with our execution, but that wasn't our problem. They outshot us, they did exactly what they wanted to do.

''Everybody was frustrated tonight. I was frustrated. The team was frustrated,'' Bird said. ''What we have to do is come back strong. We're not going to give up.''

The Bucks had lost four straight playoff games to the Pacers, including last year's 3-0 first-round sweep. But the poor shooting in Sunday's 88-85 loss was forgotten in a hurry. The Bucks never trailed, hit 15 of 21 shots in the first quarter, built the lead to 27 points late in the second period and to 31 in the third quarter.

The Pacers, losing by the largest margin since a 19-point defeat to Chicago in the 1998 conference finals, never caught up.

Rik Smits, who had 12 points in the first half, was ejected after putting an elbow to Ervin Johnson's head as they fought for a rebound midway through the third quarter.

''I tried to box him out and my elbow got a little high,'' Smits said. ''Looking at the film, I don't think it'll be a suspension.''

Johnson said it was ''just part of the game.''

''He grazed me across the face or neck, whatever you want to call it. I don't mind the bumps, I don't mind the fouls. I just don't like people taking cheap shots,'' he said.

Jalen Rose, who had 26 points in Sunday's victory, had only 8 through three periods and 11 for the game. Reggie Miller, the Pacers' clutch player in so many playoff series, picked up three fouls and a technical within one minute late in the third quarter and finished with 10 points.

''We knew they were going to put us in a lot of pick and rolls, and we missed a lot of assignments, especially trying to trap Cassell and Allen,'' Miller said. ''They were going right around our big guys. We did a better job in the second half, but other guys were making shots for them.''

Lakers 113, Kings 89

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers' playoff opener was Shaq's Show. Game 2 was Bryant's Time.

Kobe Bryant, seemingly improving with every game, scored 22 of his career playoff high 32 points in the first half as the Lakers rolled to a victory over the Sacramento Kings and a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

Game 3 in the best-of-five series will be played Sunday at Arco Arena in Sacramento, where a fourth game will be played Tuesday night, if necessary.

Shaquille O'Neal, who had 46 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots in the Lakers' 117-107 victory in the opener, had 23 points, 19 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots in Game 2, and Glen Rice added 18 points.

The Lakers took command by outscoring Sacramento 16-3 in the final seven minutes of the second quarter for a 56-41 halftime lead.

The Kings appeared thoroughly demoralized before the third quarter was over, and understandably so, considering the Lakers led by as many as 23 points before settling for an 83-64 lead entering the final period.

Chris Webber, who scored 28 points in 27 minutes before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter of the opener, avoided foul problems in Game 2 and shrugged off a bad start to get 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in 42 minutes.

It wasn't nearly enough. Vlade Divac was the only other Sacramento player in double figures with 14 points.

The Kings were determined to do a better job of blocking out after the Lakers got 25 offensive rebounds in Game 1, but did poorly early.

The Lakers picked off four in one sequence, and had eight in the first seven minutes -- including four by O'Neal and three by A.C. Green -- to help them go ahead for good. In all, the Lakers had 14 offensive rebounds.

The Kings made their first four shots and were 7-of-11 at one stage, but trailed 21-15 mainly because they couldn't keep the Lakers off the offensive boards.

It was 35-24 entering the second quarter, and the Kings opened the period with a 14-5 run to draw within two points. At that stage, the Lakers turned up the intensity on defense in pulling away to their 15-point halftime lead.

Notes: Bryant's previous career playoff high was 28 points against San Antonio last May 19. He surpassed that when he made a three-point play with 3:01 left in the third quarter. ... The Kings were 26-of-35 and the Lakers 10-of-14 from the foul line in Game 1. In Game 2, the Lakers were 25-of-35 and the Kings were 16-of-20. ... Webber missed six of his first seven shots, including an uncontested dunk. He wound up 8-of-28 from the floor and didn't come out of the game for the first time until midway through the fourth quarter. ... O'Neal, a virtual lock to win his first Most Valuable Player award, was honored before the game as winner of the IBM award, which is determined by a computer rating that measures a player's overall contribution to a team. ... O'Neal attempted only five free throws in Game 1, making four. He was 5-of-11 in Game 2, including 2-of-8 in the third quarter. ... The Lakers outrebounded the Kings 54-37 in Game 1 and 48-40 in Game 2. ... The Kings have lost nine of their last 10 games, including seven of eight to finish the regular season.

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