Lakers gain playoffs on final shot 109-108 OT win grounds Rockets

April 20, 1992|By Jim McCurdie | Jim McCurdie,Knight-Ridder News Service

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA — INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Los Angeles won.

The city never has seen anything quite like what transpired last night in the Forum, and never may see it again.

The final shot of the final game of the NBA regular season. The Clippers already in the playoffs. The Lakers needing a victory to join them. A divided Lakers crowd, some wondering whether advancing to a playoff series against Portland is such a good thing, some hanging on in the name of stubborn pride.

In the end, it was pride that won out. The 1992 NBA playoffs will have two Los Angeles entrants, the 1992 NBA lottery none.

Sedale Threatt's 16-foot, fadeaway jumper over a sprawling Doc Rivers with 4.5 seconds left in overtime gave the Lakers a 109-108 victory over their upstart neighbors, who were trying to keep their rivals out of the playoffs for the first time since 1976.

The Lakers will open the playoffs in Portland Thursday night. The Clippers play at Utah Friday night.

Yesterday's game seemed destined to end the way it did from the beginning of the fourth quarter, as if guided by the product of a Hollywood screen writer.

The Clippers had a chance to win after calling a quick timeout when Threatt's shot fell. Danny Manning, who finished with a game-high 34 points on 16 of 23 shooting, inbounded the ball to Rivers, who dribbled to his left before unloading a slightly off-balance shot from the left corner of the key.

It missed, and the final buzzer sounded. The Lakers were standing.

Byron Scott led the Lakers with 27 points. Threatt had 24, 15 of which came in the second half. Terry Teagle added 20, including the Lakers' first four points of overtime.

The Clippers were unbeaten in their five previous overtime games this season.

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