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Blazers burn through Lakers

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2000

LOS ANGELES -- He is a 6-foot-11 portrait of grace and skill at his best; hot-tempered and self-destructive at his worst.

Rasheed Wallace was at his best Monday night, and in an incredibly dominant third quarter, so were the Portland Trail Blazers.

Wallace, on his best behavior after being ejected from Game 1 for getting two technical fouls, had playoff career highs of 29 points and 12 rebounds as the Blazers stunned Los Angeles 106-77, the Lakers' most lopsided loss of the season.

''We just kind of took it to them,'' Portland's Scottie Pippen said.

Wallace made three 3-pointers in a 20-0 third-quarter outburst as Portland evened the best-of-seven Western Conference finals 1-1.

The series doesn't resume until Friday in Portland.

''No one said it was going to be easy,'' Shaquille O'Neal said. ''Now we've got our hands full.''

The way the Blazers played the third quarter there was no reason for the ''Hack-a-Shaq'' strategy that sent O'Neal to the line a playoff-record 25 times in the fourth quarter of Game 1. O'Neal was 5-for-17 from the line, but it was academic.

O'Neal, averaging 30.8 points in the playoffs, had 23 points and 12 rebounds, but 14 of his points came in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers never got closer than 18.

''When you're the road team coming in, you're trying to shift the homecourt advantage back,'' Portland coach Mike Dunleavy said. ''That was our goal, we accomplished it.''

Kobe Bryant was the only other Los Angeles player in double figures with 12 points, but was only 2-for-9 from the field.

The Lakers lost at home for the first time in eight playoff games and the second time in 26 games since losing to the Blazers on Jan. 22. Los Angeles is 43-6 at home.

Wallace, who drew his second technical in Game 1 for staring at referee Ron Garretson, said he had no special motivation Monday night.

''I'm just going out there and playing, man,'' Wallace said. ''My preparation for this game wasn't any different than Game 1.''

Wallace had 11 points and five rebounds in the third quarter, when the Blazers outscored Los Angeles 28-8, tying the Lakers' playoff low for that quarter and just two short of the NBA record-low set by Atlanta against Boston on May 6, 1986.

''The first half was just awful and we were only down by three points,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ''We certainly could play a better second half was my message to the team at halftime, and we went out and played worse.''

Pippen had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Portland. He scored 17 points in the first half as the Blazers took a tenuous 48-45 lead. Steve Smith scored 24 for the Blazers, who are 3-3 against Los Angeles this season and the only team to win twice on the Lakers' court.

The Lakers made just two of 15 shots in the third quarter and were outrebounded 14-5, even though O'Neal played the entire 12 minutes.

Brian Shaw's 3-pointer cut Portland's lead to 56-51 with six minutes left in the third, but it would be the Lakers' last field goal of the quarter.

''We got a couple of steals, tried to limit them to one shot, rebound and run,'' Wallace said. ''And that's pretty much what we did.''

Smith's inside basket started the run and Wallace's third 3-pointer ended it, putting the Blazers ahead 76-51 with 8.5 seconds left in the quarter.

''They pressed the ball and drove to the hoop and put us in foul situations,'' Jackson said. ''They had us back on our heels.''

Bryant's two free throws with 1.3 seconds allowed the Lakers to avoid tying the NBA playoff record for lowest-scoring third quarter and made it 76-53 going into the fourth.

''We got a little desperate in the middle of the third quarter,'' Jackson said, indicating he should have called timeout. ''I take credit for this. I left them to hang out to dry a little bit too long and try and find their own way back out of that morass and they just couldn't find their way out.''

Dunleavy drew a technical foul with 6:48 left in the third quarter when Arvydas Sabonis was called for his fourth foul in a collision with O'Neal under the Lakers' basket. Portland outscored Los Angeles 22-6 the rest of the quarter.

After failing to get one free-throw attempt in the first half of Game 1, Portland was 18-for-25 at the line in the first half of Game 2, compared with the Lakers' 7-for-11. Pippen, fouled repeatedly on drives to the basket, was 7-for-10 at the line in the first half.

O'Neal, in foul trouble and frustrated by the Blazers' double-team, scored just six points in the first half and had nine through three quarters. He drew his third foul on Bonzi Wells' three-point play with 6:27 to play in the second quarter and sat out the final 5:16 of the half.

Sabonis, outscored 41-0 by O'Neal in Game 1, had five points this time before fouling out.

Notes: O'Neal didn't get his first field goal until 29 seconds remained in the first quarter. ... Portland missed its first eight shots of the second quarter and still trailed only 30-26. ... The Blazers' Damon Stoudamire was scoreless and left the game for good after drawing his third and fourth fouls in the first 15 seconds of the second half. ... Wallace, who has six technicals in the playoffs and had 38 in the regular season, didn't draw his first personal foul until midway through the fourth quarter. ... Glen Rice of the Lakers was just 3-for-9 for six points.



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