Lakers Win on Near First-Quarter Shutout : Sacramento Trails After Period, 40-4, Loses, 128-92
If this had been on the playground, Shirts vs. Skins, instead of at the Forum, Lakers vs. the Sacramento Kings, they would have picked new teams after the first four minutes Wednesday night.
After the first 12 minutes, the Forum scoreboard read Lakers 40, Kings 4. On the playground, someone would have picked up the ball and gone home.
“If we had been the Skins, they would have had to get a new Shirts team out there,” guard Byron Scott said after the Lakers’ record-setting 128-92 win, “because on the playground, this would have been a skunk.”
On the playground, 15-0 is a skunk. At the Forum, it was nearly a double skunk--the Lakers led, 29-0, before Derek Smith scored Sacramento’s first points, making two free throws with 2:54 left in the first quarter. Reggie Theus scored the other two points on two free throws with 31 seconds left.
When Smith made his free throws, he got a standing ovation from the crowd of 14,729.
“It’s a good thing we’re a good free-throw shooting team,” Sacramento Coach Phil Johnson said.
Good thing indeed, because the Kings did not score a basket in the first quarter. No layups, no jump hooks, no pull-up jumpers, no excuse-me tip-ins, no three-point bombs, no jams. Zip for 18 from the floor in the quarter.
The Kings had scored fewer points in the first quarter than any team since the introduction of the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
They missed their first 21 shots before Eddie Johnson banked in a three-footer 20 seconds into the second period.
“In the eighth grade something like this happened to me,” said Smith, who is no stranger to the bizarre--remember, he once played for the Clippers. “We scored like 14 points, and the other guys had 80.
“I remember I cried for a few days after that. You can’t do that here. But they (the Lakers) toyed with us like we were little kids.
“When you’re down, 10-0, to the Lakers, you know it’s getting bad. When it’s 16-0, you know it’s real bad. When it’s 22-0, you’re critical, and they might as well pull the plug.
“It don’t take no Einstein to figure out when it’s 27-0 and Kurt Rambis is hitting 20-foot jumpers, and they’re running plays for him, that you’re in trouble.”
You’re not only in trouble, you’re in the record book. Two other teams have scored only four points in a quarter--Detroit in 1947, Buffalo in 1972. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played against Buffalo in that one, while he was still with Milwaukee, but had no recollection of being there.
“What! Are you kidding? That was a long time ago,” said Abdul-Jabbar, who Wednesday night played just long enough--23 minutes--to score 12 points and ensure that his double-figure scoring streak continued. “Too many games have gone by.”
Chick Hearn may have set a record, too, after Sacramento Coach Johnson called timeout with the score 16-0.
“The game is in the refrigerator,” Hearn solemnly told his listeners.
At the time, the teams had played a total of 3 minutes 47 seconds, thus giving Hearn his record entry: earliest pronouncement of a Laker win by broadcaster with a Hollywood star.
Scott could have spotted the Kings eight baskets in the first quarter and still come out on top. The Laker guard had 17 points in the quarter.
A.C. Green could have spotted them seven baskets and come away with a tie. He scored 14.
The Lakers had 11 rebounds to the Kings’ 5. The Lakers had one turnover, the Kings seven. Magic Johnson had 15 assists in the first 15 minutes (he finished with 17).
Twice, the Kings actually put the ball through the basket--once by LaSalle Thompson at the 3:46 mark, again by Eddie Johnson at 3:12, both times on offensive rebounds. Both times, the Sacramento players were called for fouls.
“This isn’t a knock on the referees,” said Theus, who had 25 points. “But it seemed as though they found it interesting, too. We almost felt like, ‘Hey, have a little mercy.’ ”
Smith didn’t even mind the sarcastic ovation he received when the Kings finally did get on the board after he was fouled by Green.
“It felt good,” he said. “It was frightening to think that we might not score for the quarter.”
Even Laker Coach Pat Riley found it a little discomforting.
“Bizarre,” he said. “I’ve been in the pro game 20 years and never seen anything like it.
“We just got it going, then we just started to go better, and after six or seven minutes, you could sense that something was happening. Their shots started to get short, we blocked shots, there were turnovers--it was extraordinary.
“There was a lot of effort, a lot of good play--and a hell of a lot of luck.”
It’s nothing new for the Kings to lose to the Lakers--they’ve lost 19 straight regular-season games to the Lakers, 22 counting the playoffs. The numbers become 30 and 32 when you count only the games at the Forum.
But this was other-worldly. As Theus said, “On this level, everybody’s good. At no time do you say to someone, ‘You can’t score.”’
Yet Wednesday night, that’s just what happened to the Kings.
“If this were Shirts and Skins, you’d be looking to run over somebody,” Theus said. “You’d take it to the basket at all costs.
“On the playground, this becomes a real bleepin’ war. Pride wise, you’re thinking, ‘That’s enough of this bleep. This is not happening.” ’
But Wednesday night, it did. And years from now, you can look it up.
Laker Notes Sacramento was not the first team to go an entire quarter without scoring a basket. On Jan. 10, 1980, the Chicago Bulls did not make a basket against Kansas City but did make 11 free throws. Sacramento guard Reggie Theus was on that Bulls team and recalled that game Wednesday night. . . . All 12 players on the Laker roster had double figures in minutes Wednesday night, and everyone scored, led by Byron Scott’s 21 points. . . . The Kings wound up shooting 38% for the game, the worst by any Laker opponent this season, but figure this out: They made 32 of 33 free throws. . . . Guess who happened to drop into town Wednesday: Mychal Thompson’s agent, John Phillips, who took a plane in from Portland and was at the game. Phillips said he was here on other business but planned to talk to Laker General Manager Jerry West this morning. Thompson, of course, is the San Antonio backup center reportedly coveted by the Lakers. Last weekend, Phillips thought a deal between the Lakers and Spurs was all but made, but now he’s not so sure. He suspects that West is balking at the Spurs’ reported asking price: rookie Billy Thompson plus a No. 1 draft choice. “I don’t think Jerry wants to do it,” Phillips said. “I know he thinks an awful lot of Billy Thompson. But I’ll tell you this: Mychal would love to come here. He wants it to happen. And if it does happen, I can almost guarantee you the Lakers will win a championship.” Phillips, of course, has a vested interest. But he also claimed that Dallas forward Mark Aguirre told him Sunday night that he hoped the Lakers didn’t get Mychal Thompson. “Mark told me, ‘He’s the only guy in the Western Conference who can guard me.’ ” . . . Laker Coach Pat Riley, who had the option of starting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the All-Star game Sunday in place of Houston’s Ralph Sampson, who is expected to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, instead selected Tom Chambers of the SuperSonics, who was added to the team only after Sampson was hurt. The fact that the game will be played in Seattle obviously weighed in Riley’s decision. Abdul-Jabbar, who will be appearing in a record 16th All-Star game, was an obvious sentimental choice. . . . A.C. Green, who couldn’t watch game videotapes per request of Riley because he didn’t own a VCR, doesn’t have that problem anymore. Two Laker season-ticket holders, David Goldberg and Doug Kanner, chipped in to buy Green a new machine.