LOS ANGELES Four days after severely spraining his left ankle, Devean George played.
He called it a miracle.
A month after his latest movie was released, Jack Nicholson provided an encore.
Without a script.
George provided the spark and Nicholson added some entertainment Friday night as the Los Angeles Lakers beat San Antonio 110-95 to cut the Spurs' lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven playoff series.
This was a must-win game for us,'' Shaquille O'Neal said. I do not know what our record is for must-win games, but I would go on the record as saying that we are undefeated when we are in a situation where we must win.
Guys played well tonight. We just have to have that same intensity on Sunday.''
That's when Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals will be played at Staples Center. Game 5 is Tuesday night in San Antonio, where the Spurs won the first two games.
Kobe Bryant scored 10 of his 39 points in the opening 1:36 of the fourth quarter to extend an 81-67 lead to 91-69, and the Lakers cruised from there.
We played as if we thought somebody was going to give something to us,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
O'Neal had 21 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists; Derek Fisher scored 14; Robert Horry added 13 points and 12 rebounds; and George scored a career playoff-high 13.
In the only other game Friday night, New Jersey beat Boston 94-76 to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Play resumes Saturday night in the other two conference semifinals, with Detroit at Philadelphia in the East and Dallas at Sacramento in the West. The Pistons have a 2-0 lead and the Mavericks and Kings are tied 1-1.
The Spurs-Lakers game included the stunning sight of Nicholson stepping onto the court to scream at one of the referees, but only after another shocker the unexpected return of George to the starting lineup.
Willis Reed-like,'' Bryant said when asked about George's effort. Devean came in and played extremely well with a lot of heart. Hopefully this can be a turning point in his career from a confidence standpoint.''
Just as Reed did for the New York Knicks in Game 7 of the NBA Finals 33 years ago against the Lakers, George scored the game's first four points on two jump shots.
The Lakers led all the way.
When I first got hurt, I wanted to cut my ankle off,'' said George, injured in the opening minute of the fourth quarter in Game 1 on Monday night. It's a miracle how my ankle has recovered in four days, but I'm nowhere near 100 percent yet.''
George replaced Rick Fox in the starting lineup during the opening-round series against Minnesota after Fox went down with a torn tendon in his left foot.
Wearing his ever-present dark sunglasses while sitting in his usual courtside seat, Nicholson stood and screamed at official Mark Wunderlich in the second quarter shortly after O'Neal was called for his third foul.
Thank Jack for supporting us. He's a big basketball fan,'' O'Neal said. He was good for us tonight.''
Public address announcer Lawrence Tantor said Ron Garretson, another official, came to the scorer's table and told the stat crew to get security ready if anything more happened.
I pay a lot of money for this seat,'' Nicholson said at halftime. This is the NBA, you can't tell me to sit down.''
Nicholson was much more calm in the third quarter, which ended with all five Lakers starters in double figures a far different circumstance than in the first two games when Bryant and O'Neal provided most of the offense.
I just saw Anger Management.' I thought I was watching it again. I liked it,'' Bryant said of the movie starring Nicholson and Adam Sandler. It was entertaining. The San Antonio Spurs enjoyed it, too. It was a crazy moment.''
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said George came into his office about 25 minutes before the game and said he was OK to play.
Reed had to come out of his game because of an injured hip, but the Knicks rolled to a convincing victory in the 1970 finals. George was able to play on, scoring nine points in the first nine minutes as the Lakers took a 29-12 lead.
The Spurs weren't closer than six points after that.
Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Malik Rose added 15 points. Bruce Bowen, who scored 27 in San Antonio's 114-95 runaway victory in Game 2, was held to three points, shooting 1-of-7.
They jumped on us early,'' Duncan said of the Lakers, who made 13 of their first 17 shots. They were great tonight. We came out like we weren't ready. Devean George gave them a big boost early. They sustained it all the way through.''
Only seven NBA teams have ever won a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games. The Lakers will try to make it eight.
Nets 94, Celtics 76
At Boston, Kenyon Martin scored 25 points and Richard Jefferson had 20 to help New Jersey take a 3-0 lead, a deficit that no NBA team has ever overcome.
Jason Kidd added nine points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Nets. Paul Pierce led Boston with 23 points, and Antoine Walker had 15 on 6-for-17 shooting.
Before the game, the Celtics hired former guard Danny Ainge as executive director of basketball operations. Ainge played on Boston's last two championship teams in 1984 and 1986.
Game 4 is Monday night in Boston.
© 2017. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us