Lakers finally dunk pesky Warrior team

May 15, 1991|By Mark Heisler | Mark Heisler,Los Angeles Times

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers waded through a world of hurt, which was what was required if you were going to write the requiem for this middleweight.

The Golden State Warriors led them by 12 points in the fourth quarter of this NBA playoff game, and by two three times in the last 2:04 of regulation, but the Lakers caught up every time.

Sam Perkins' (19 points) driving layup tied it with two seconds to play in regulation and the Lakers finally beat the visitors in overtime, 124-119, before 17,505 at the Forum.

The Lakers thus won the series, 4-1, and advanced to the West finals against the Trail Blazers, starting Saturday in Portland.

Let's just say the Lakers aren't coming out of this game with a big head. They were happy to come out of it wearing any heads at all.

"Hell, yeah, I feel relieved," Laker Coach Mike Dunleavy said.

"A team like this [the Warriors], you can never count out. If they beat us tonight, they could win three games in a row. That's what I told them before the game. That's what I told them again at halftime."

The halftime discussion must have taken on greater urgency because by then the Warriors were ahead, 53-46.

Magic Johnson (28), James Worthy (25)and Byron Scott (13) were then a combined 3-for-23.

Dunleavy thought the Lakers were flat. Johnson thought they were simply cold. Indisputably, they were behind, and it was going to get worse. Early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors led, 90-78.

Then Elden Campbell stepped in and saved them.

This is the rookie who played little all season and only one minute in the entire playoff series against Houston, but you could no longer call it a surprise. Campbell had scored five points with four rebounds and a block in a short stint in the first half, leading another Laker rally.

He was even more spectacular in the fourth quarter, scoring six points with five rebounds as the Lakers wiped out the 12-point deficit in 5:16. They took a four-point lead -- only to watch Campbell foul out and the Warriors gather themselves again.

Mitch Richmond (26) stripped Byron Scott, triggering a fast break. Worthy tore to the other end and tipped away Richmond's layup, but Chris Mullin (26) scored on the rebound, was fouled and made the free throw. The Warriors led, 104-100, with 1:45 left.

The Lakers tied the score on two Johnson free throws and Perkins' rebound basket.

Tim (27 points) Hardaway's 17-footer put the Warriors ahead106-104, with :35 left.

Worthy scored on a driving layup with :21 left to tie it.

Richmond made a 20-footer with six seconds remaining for a 108-106 lead and the Bay Area went on Laker alert.

The Lakers tried to inbound and called time out. This had all happened before, in Game 2. That time, the Warriors double-covered Johnson, made the pass go elsewhere, tipped it away and won the game.

This time, the pass went to Perkins, who took it about 22 feet out on the left wing, saw a lane to the basket and drove through it for the layup that sent the game into overtime.

"I was really the last option," Perkins said. "I saw Rod Higgins go to the baseline, like he was going to guard James. I saw a lane just open up. I think they were surprised I'd drive. I think they figured I was going to pass."

Overtime, finally, belonged to the Lakers, but not without the usual struggle. It was 117-117 when Worthy made the 18-footer with 38 seconds to play that put the Lakers ahead to stay.

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