Spurs hardly hospitable to ailing Lakers

December 28, 1992|By Los Angeles Times

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Most people are content to send ailin friends flowers or a basket of fruit.

Dale Ellis greeted his old buddy, Sedale Threatt, just back from two days in Centinela Hospital, with a 23-point second half as the San Antonio Spurs won their fourth game in a row, beating the Los Angeles Lakers, 104-92, Saturday night in the Forum.

The victory made new Spurs coach John Lucas 3-0 while dropping new Laker coach Randy Pfund to 14-10, with four losses in five games, as the Lakers head for a six-game eastern trip.

For variety, the Lakers, who had been starting poorly, fell apart late. They took a 52-47 lead at halftime, then watched Ellis score 17 points in the third period and shoot his team into an 81-73 lead.

The Lakers then plummeted in earnest, as the Spurs ran up a 17-point lead and coasted in.

Threatt, who was hospitalized after sustaining a concussion Wednesday, started and played 34 minutes, scoring 14 points.

Ellis, an old friend from their high school in Atlanta and a teammate in Seattle, chatted briefly with him before the game. But he didn't mind posting him up during the game.

"He didn't look as much into the game as he usually does," Ellis said. "It doesn't take too long to get out of shape in this league."

Sure enough, Pfund limited Threatt's time when he saw him looking "very, very winded" during a timeout.

"I did get a little winded," Threatt said.

"I was in the hospital two days with them shooting me up every 10 minutes. I'm just glad to be back."

The Lakers started slowly, falling behind 18-10 after five minutes. But unlike recent games, didn't wait for the second half to rally.

They grabbed a five-point lead at halftime, when, in the Spurs' locker room, it was Lucas' turn to try to rally his team.

"I kinda went bonkers at halftime," Lucas said. "Next thing you know, we were back in it."

Ellis, who had missed five of his seven shots in the first half, hit his first attempt in the third quarter and many thereafter.

Meanwhile, Lucas had pulled all his guards and was running 6-8 Sean Elliott at the point. The Lakers, who had built their game plan around attacking Vinny Del Negro, were confounded. Pfund tried to pressure Elliott with Tony Smith and double-teams, but Elliott escaped unruffled.

When Ellis, appropriately enough, knocked in his 16th and 17th points of the third quarter with a buzzer-beating 18-footer, the Spurs led, 81-73. The Lakers then collapsed in the fourth quarter, and there went the old home stand.

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