Swingman Olden Polynice of the Seattle SuperSonics ripped off his jersey and hurled it to the floor in disgust as he entered the locker room after the SuperSonics' 130-108 loss to the Lakers in Game 2 of their playoff series Wednesday night.
Polynice was cursing loudly, frustrated by Seattle's poor performance.
Late in the fourth quarter, he was given a technical foul after a confrontation with forward Orlando Woolridge.
"I fouled David Rivers, and Orlando Woolridge took exception to it and he hit me from behind," Polynice said. "He took it upon himself to hit me and that's not going to work."
Tom Newell, Seattle assistant coach, also was cursing as he entered the locker room. As soon as the last player entered the room, the door slammed shut and remained so for 20 minutes.
The SuperSonics were down, 2-0, against the Lakers; the scene inside the locker room was grim.
"They looked like the old L.A. Lakers," Polynice said. "If we missed shots, they were gone. Steals, they were gone. All our mistakes were bunched in together, and they converted almost every one of them.
"They came out and they got busy. Hey, they whipped (us) . . . There ain't no excuses."
Seattle Coach Bernie Bickerstaff agreed: "They played like world champions."
The SuperSonics sensed that they were doomed when the Lakers took a 13-point lead in the first quarter.
"They came out with a lot of intensity from the very start," Seattle center Alton Lister said. "I think they wanted to send us a message."
It didn't help that Seattle lost starting point guard Nate McMillan, who limped off the court with a sprained left ankle six minutes into the game.
"I went to the hoop and I stepped on Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar)'s foot," McMillan said. "It's real painful. I couldn't put any pressure on it."
Bickerstaff refused to use McMillan's loss as an excuse.
"I don't know whether it (losing McMillan) made a difference at all," Bickerstaff said. "He probably had the best seat in the house."
Dale Ellis, however, said the SuperSonics missed their playmaker.
So that explains why Ellis, who scored only 14 points, was ineffective?
The Lakers' trapping defense probably had more to do with Ellis' lack of success than McMillan's absence. The Lakers double-teamed Ellis whenever he got the ball.
"It was the best (defense) they've played all year," Ellis said. "But this is the playoffs, and they've turned it up a notch.
"We're not executing the offense as much as we'd like, and I'm not getting as many opportunities to score. They're putting pressure on our point guards so it's difficult to get the ball, and they're running two guys at me."
What does Seattle have to do to revitalize its offense?
"I think we have to be patient and execute our offense," Ellis said. "We've got to wait for the good shots."
The Lakers buried the SuperSonics in the third period with a 20-8 run in the final seven minutes of the third quarter.
"Everything they did was right in the third quarter," Seattle forward Xavier McDaniel said. "They didn't do anything wrong. They hit all types of crazy shots."
Forward Michael Cage said: "We bottomed out in the third quarter. The Lakers came out and had a big run and it was over."
Is the series over, too?
After the game, an usher outside the SuperSonic locker room brought out his broom in anticipation of a four-game sweep.
The SuperSonics, however, insist they will not be swept.
"Ask anyone in this room and they'll tell you it's not over," McDaniel said. "The Lakers have only won two games."
Said Lister: "I think the series is going to be a lot different when it gets to Seattle."
Game 3 will be played Friday night and Game 4 Sunday.