Rebel Yell, 1997-10-27, page 15


Rebel Yell, 1997-10-27, page 15
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Rebel Yell, 1997-10-27, page 15
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' 1 . 'V"' ' .1' ( , i ' J ... ' by Erik Thompson The Rebel Yell The Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards entertained the crowd at the Thomas and Mack Center last week. The Lakers won 123-111 in overtime. Lakers come from behind to steal victory By Patrick Wlebeld Sports Staff Writer The Los Angeles Lakers took on the Washington Wizards in an exibition showdown at the Thomas and Mack Center Oct. 22. Laker guard Kobe Bryant stole the show. As soon as he stepped onto the floor in the first quarter, the arena erupted in excitement. Everyone wanted to see if this young, brash, talented19-year-old was everything people have said about him. Some people say he is the next Michael Jordan. Only time will tell if that is true. But at the Thomas and Mack Wednesday, Bryant was definitely the spotlight. In the first quarter, the scoring began when Laker forward Elden Campbell hit a soft touch hook shot outside the lane. Wizard forward Chris Webber answered that shot with a slam dunk that got the crowd's attention. Webber then proceeded to hit a three pointer, and following a turnover by Laker guard Nick Van Exel, he rocked the rim again with a thunderous slam dunk. When it seemed like things were getting ugly for the Lakers, with 3:09 on the game clock, Bryant checked into the game. An electric burst of cheer came from the crowd, the star was finally on the court. He . wasted no time showing his , skills as he shaked and baked for a bucket on his first play. Then with time winding down in the first quarter, Bryant had the ball . at the top of the key. Wizards guard Jimmy Oliver was guarding Bryant, when Bryant put a move on Oliver that was remi- I niscent of Jotdan, .and threw down a booming slam that put Wizards forward Ben Wallace on the ground. This kid can elevate. The first quarter ended following that dunk with the Lakers leading 33-27. To open play in the second quarter, Bryant once again victimized Oliver with a move that froze the defender in place, and Bryant threw down another amazing slam. The crowd was loving it. Van Exel got some of his scoring done in the second quarter as well. He picked off an errant pass and wentcoast-to-coast and finished with a slam. As the final seconds of the half were winding down, he hit a soft-touch floater bringing the Lakers to a 53-51 lead as they headed into the locker rooms at halftime. Bryant finished the first half with 11 points, but the leading scorer for the Lakers was Campbell with 13. For the Wizards, Webber had 1 1 first half points. The Wizards came out of the locker room in the third quarter scoring at will. Wizard guard Chris Whitney picked off a Van Exel pass and dished it to Webber for a reverse slam. On this play, Webber had run into Van Exel and Laker head coach Del Harris wanted a foul called. The only person that got a foul called on him as a result of this play was Harris, as he was hit with a technical foul. Following the made free throw by Whitney,- the Wizards had jumped out to a 66-56 lead. The Lakers began to play sloppy, not converting fast-break layups, missing jump shots in the paint. Everything was going bad. Then with 3:41 left in the third quarter, Bryant drove into the lane and caught Webber's finger in his eye. He was taken to the locer room and never returned to the court. It was all but over for the Lakers. The Lakers began to stage a bit of a comeback with time running down, as guard Shea Seals intercepted a pass and took it all the way for a slam. That made it 73-65 in favor of the Wizards. The Lakers kept chipping away at the lead, and found themselves down by only five points at the end of the third quarter, 75-70. Coming into the fourth quarter, Laker all-star guard had scored only one point. But the fourth quarter, it was all Eddie Jones. Laker forward Robert Horry stole a pass and dished it to Jones for a dunk, cutting the Wizards' lead to 93-89. Wizard guard Calbert Cheaney answered the Lakers' comeback attempt by hitting three baskets in a row. With 2:15 left in the game, Wizard forward Darvin Ham put his team up by 10 when he hit a clutch jump shot. With 1:08 left, Jones fouled Ham, who hit one of his free throws, bringing their lead to 107-99. With 34.4 seconds left, Van Exel stole the ball and scored, making it 107-103 Wizards. Laker guard Jon Berry drew a foul on the Wizards next posession, givin the Lakers the ball back. Jones scored with 26.4 seconds remaining due to agoaltend. It was 107-105, and the Wizards were in trouble. With 20.9 seconds left, Jones ripped the ball away from Whitney giving the Lakers the ball and the chance to lie the game. With only 9.2 seconds remaining, Jones would be the hero, as he drove into the lane and hit a layup to tic the game and send it to overtime. Jones scored nine points in the final quarter. The Lakers outscored the Wizards 12-1 in the final 1:31 of the quarter. The Lakers set the pace of overtime as they won the tip and scored immediately on a Campbell field goal. Van Exel was fouled after scoring a basket with 2:03 remaining, and proceeded to hit his free throw to put the Lakers ahead by eight. Campbell scaled the game with a slam with 1:10 on the clock, putting them ahead 123-111. Following the game, Bryant said that his eye was fine and that it would not affect his play. "Kobe will have his ups and a downs," said Harris, "but he has tremendous talent and a wonderful will to succeed. He is one of the most competitve players I have ever coached. He gets upset losing an inter-squad game." "The Lakers still need some improvement," Harris said. "And getting O'Neal back will be a big help. "The last two games we haven't handled the ball too well," he said, "but we did before that. We've got a young team, so we just need to play and get to know one another." Laker assistant coach Kurt Rambis said he was pleased with the way the team played in the final stages of the game. "We got our presses going," he said. "We put some pressure on them getting some turnovers, that helped put the ball game into our favor." HAtlOVTOf WWCG 25 OFF SELECTED COSTUMES AND MASKS TfWT SHOPPING SMTTOWOWNG 676-6576 45M0O4 W TWAIN BFWmr OAUBIAWAll mwwwwm wvfTPirniNFYT 692-0665
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