LOS ANGELES -- Shaquille O'Neal manhandled the Sacramento Kings again Tuesday night, to a point where they look beyond repair.
O'Neal went over, around and through the Kings for 43 points, 20 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Kings 96-90 for a 2-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.
The defending NBA champion Lakers extended their winning streak to a season-high 13 games -- the final eight of the regular season and the first five of the playoffs.
O'Neal, who had 44 points, 21 rebounds and seven blocks in the Lakers' 108-105 victory in Game 1, overpowered the likes of Vlade Divac, Scot Pollard and even Chris Webber in dominating the inside again.
It didn't seem to matter what the Kings tried, because nothing worked.
Kobe Bryant added 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Horace Grant had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers.
Webber led the Kings with 22 points and 18 rebounds, but was only 9-of-26 from the field.
Peja Stojakovic added 20 points, all but six in the fourth quarter, and Bobby Jackson scored 14 for the Kings.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Friday in Sacramento.
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 coach Rick 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.
Bucks 91, Hornets 90
MILWAUKEE -- Ray Allen's offense and Sam Cassell's defense lifted the Milwaukee Bucks to a 2-0 lead over the Charlotte Hornets.
Allen had 28 points and a career playoff-high nine assists, and Cassell did an outstanding job of defending Baron Davis in the Bucks' 91-90 victory Tuesday night.
Game 3 is Thursday night in Charlotte.
Davis, who averaged 13.8 points during the season and 19.8 in the first five playoff games, was scoreless in the first half and finished with just four points, all from the line.
Davis' ultimate frustration came at the buzzer when he failed to chase down a rebound that was tipped by Bucks center Ervin Johnson and grabbed by Allen.
The Bucks never trailed in winning their 12th straight at the Bradley Center.
The Hornets, who got 20 points from David Wesley, trimmed a 16-point deficit to 91-90 in the final minute when P.J. Brown hit a jumper with 27.2 seconds left.
Glenn Robinson missed a short jumper, but Johnson tipped the ball out and Allen came down with it before being knocked out of bounds by Davis as time expired.
Jamal Mashburn and Brown had 19 points each for the Hornets, and Robinson scored 19 for the Bucks.
Cassell and coach George Karl got into a small tiff after the opener when the coach said he wanted better balance from his point guard, who had four assists and 20 points in Game 1.
''Tell George to put the uniform on,'' Cassell retorted. ''I'm going to do what I have to go to make this team successful.''
So, Karl playfully donned a Bucks jersey at the shootaround Tuesday morning and challenged Cassell, who declined. It was all in good fun.
But the benefits came at game time.
Cassell only got eight points and five assists Tuesday night, but his defensive performance was the best in memory.
The Bucks built a 16-point lead in the first half and stayed comfortably ahead until late in the third quarter, when the Hornets stormed back. Brown scored 10 points in a 20-8 run that pulled Charlotte to 68-66 with 11 minutes left.
The Bucks responded with three 3-pointers, two by Allen and another by Tim Thomas, for a 77-68 lead with 8:42 remaining.
After a timeout, the Hornets were assessed a technical for only having four men on the court. Derrick Coleman had left for the locker room with a strained lower back, and a sub didn't check in.
But the Hornets had some fight left. Brown's dunk made it 89-85 with 2 1/2 minutes left, and Mashburn hit one of two free throws with 1:54 left to make it 89-86.
The Hornets shot just 33 percent in the first half and trailed 47-36 at halftime.
Davis was scoreless in the first half on 0-for-3 shooting while being hounded by Cassell and Lindsey Hunter. Davis didn't score until hitting two free throws at 8:57 of the third quarter, when his team was down 56-40.
The first quarter ended with Davis and Cassell scuffling after Davis was knocked back and slammed his head on the floor while both were going for a loose ball at the buzzer. Both were assessed technicals.
Notes: The Hornets missed all six of their 3-pointers. ... Cassell left the game briefly in the second quarter after bruising a rib. ... Thomas said he wasn't disappointed to finish second to Philadelphia's Aaron McKie in the NBA's Sixth Man Award voting: ''I'm only concerned about winning this championship right now. Hopefully, we'll meet down the road.'' Karl, who lobbied for Thomas by phoning voters, said: ''It's my personal opinion Timmy is more of a powerful player for us than McKie. But I'm sure Larry Brown loves his guy, too.'' ... Karl confirmed that his top assistant, Terry Stotts, will interview for the Detroit Pistons' coaching job. ... Coleman was the only Hornets player who didn't don a headband.
Peninsula Clarion © 2015. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us