Spurs About to Drop Out of the Hunt : Lakers Fashion 24-7 Spurt to Gain a 130-112 Victory
To the nightly fashion shows that are Laker games, San Antonio guard Alvin Robertson added one of the wilder accessories seen this season. Robertson showed up at the Forum Sunday night wearing a purple pith helmet, making him look for all the world like a big-game safari hunter.
Maybe if he’d brought along an elephant gun, Robertson might have returned home to San Antonio with the trophy he desired--a win over the Lakers. As it was, the Spurs had the Lakers cornered for the better part of three quarters before running out of ammo.
That’s when the Lakers turned like a wounded animal, outscoring the Spurs 24-7 to erase a 74-73 San Antonio lead and in the end, winning about as easily as expected, 130-112, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Western Conference first-round series.
And for the second straight game, ex-Spur Mychal Thompson--who led the Lakers with 29 points and 16 rebounds--played as if he had a nightmare that General Manager Jerry West was planning to send him back to San Antonio.
“No, Miami,” said Thompson, in a joking reference to one of next season’s expansion franchises. “Actually, Miami wouldn’t be so bad--only a half hour from Nassau. I could go home on my days off.”
The reality, of course, is that Thompson--who played 34 minutes and made 12 of 17 shots--doesn’t need to go to the Bahamas to feel comfortable. The only way he could feel any happier with the Lakers is if he could show up in T- shirt and sandals and a Walkman loaded with one of his favorite reggae tapes.
He modestly dismissed the suggestion, however, that he played a great game Sunday. He had the big numbers, he said, for the same reason Kurt Rambis had them in Game 1.
“Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and James (Worthy) and Magic (Johnson) attract so much attention in the low post that it allows me to go in and do some damage and get some second shots,” Thompson said. “They get more attention than Fawn Hall at the Iran-contra hearings.”
It would have been easy to overlook the Spurs coming into this series--they’re only the third team in league history to advance to the playoffs with 50 or more losses. But with Robertson--28 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds--playing brilliantly for the second straight game, and rookie Greg (Cadillac) Anderson cruising for 12 first-quarter points while the Lakers were double-parked, San Antonio was hardly a walkover.
“They’re not dogs,” Thompson said. “They’ll bang you upside the head in a minute, to remind you that’s you’re in a war.”
The Spurs led by as many as 14, 30-16, in the first quarter, were up by seven at the break, 32-25, and trailed by only two at the half, 60-58, after the Lakers recovered from a woeful 34.5% shooting in the opening period. San Antonio was only behind by a point when Robertson tried jamming the ball over Abdul-Jabbar and had the shot blocked, with Magic Johnson grabbing the rebound.
Johnson dribbled the length of the court, threw in a skyhook and drew a foul from San Antonio center Frank Brickowski. That was the ex-Laker’s fifth personal, and sent him to the bench with 5:01 to play. Robertson countered with a three-pointer, but the Lakers then went on a 10-0 run, capped by a steal and breakaway layup by Worthy.
By the end of the third quarter, the Laker lead was a dozen, 93-81, a three-pointer by Michael Cooper soon made it a 17-point game, and Johnson scored nine straight points in one stretch to repulse a brief Spur flurry, in which they made five straight baskets.
Still, the Spurs required more work out of the Lakers than in either first- round series of the last two seasons, when the Lakers thrashed Denver and San Antonio (1986) by an average of 30 points a night.
The Lakers had better get used to this, Johnson said. It may be this way for the rest of the playoffs.
“This is going to be a lot different playoff than people anticipated--for every team in the league,” said Johnson, who recovered from an off-target first half (3 baskets in 11 attempts) to finish with 26 points, 15 assists and 9 rebounds.
“There are better teams this year--everybody’s better. Me as a player, I already knew that. San Antonio played us tough.
“They’re a good basketball team. They may have lost 50 games, but it’s how you play one game at a time in a me-against-you series. They’re shooting the ball well, and they’re playing well inside.”
And how are the Lakers playing?
“We’re playing hard, but we’re not playing as sharp as we should,” Johnson said. “But we’re dealing with it, we’re winning. It may take us a while to get going, but we’ll get going.”
The Spurs, meanwhile, will be going home for the summer if they lose Tuesday.
“I don’t think the Lakers are going to sleep out there,” San Antonio Coach Bob Weiss said. “I think our team has been playing some pretty good basketball.”
But try catching an elephant with a butterfly net.
Byron Scott, who picked up three fouls in the first half and sat out almost 10 minutes of the third quarter before returning, had just 9 points, his first game in single digits since Dec. 9, when he scored 8 points against the Washington Bullets. . . . San Antonio Coach Bob Weiss on Mychal Thompson, who played nearly four months with the Spurs before being traded to the Lakers in February, 1987: “Mychal’s really found his niche and found the things he can do here. He’s much more offensive-rebounded minded. He’s learned to go with what he does best.” But, added Weiss: “A couple of their other guys had pretty good games, too. Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) had a great game. He was 10 for 15 (for 20 points). And Magic (Johnson) had a great game.” . . . Kurt Rambis, star of Game 1 when he scored 15 straight points in the third quarter, returned to earth--and the bench--in Game 2. With Coach Pat Riley preferring to go with Thompson and Abdul-Jabbar together, Rambis had just 4 points in 13 minutes. A.C. Green had his second straight strong game off the bench, scoring 12 points and grabbing 9 rebounds in 24 minutes. . . . The Lakers, who shot 34.5% in the first quarter, shot 66.7% the rest of the way to finish at 56.2%. The Spurs, by contrast, finished at 47.1%. . . . Frank Brickowski, despite his foul trouble, had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs.