Warriors Just Take What Lakers Give Them, 125-124 : NBA playoffs: L.A. blows lead with 28 seconds left, Campbell’s foul putting Golden State on line with three seconds left. Mullin scores 41 points, and Magic scores 44.
The Lilliputians rocked Gulliver’s world.
In a wild shootout, the Golden State Warriors took the Lakers on a 48-minute emotional roller coaster Wednesday night and threw them overboard, erasing a four-point deficit in the last 28 seconds for a stunning 125-124 victory in the Forum, tying this NBA playoff second-round series, 1-1.
For the record:
12:00 a.m. May 10, 1991 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday May 10, 1991 Home Edition Sports Part C Page 6 Column 2 Sports Desk 2 inches; 50 words Type of Material: Correction
Lakers--Thursday’s editions incorrectly reported that before Wednesday night’s 44-point performance against the Golden State Warriors, Magic Johnson’s playoff high was a 42-point game against the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1980 championship series. Johnson scored 43 points in Games 4 and 5 during last year’s playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.
The Warriors rained on the Lakers with a spectacular array of 20-footers, led by Chris Mullin, returning from the knee injury that kept him out of Game 1. He scored 41 points, tying his playoff high.
Dueling him shot for shot, even if the shots were shorter, was Magic Johnson, whose 44 points eclipsed his former playoff high, the 42 he got against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6 of 1980, his rookie season.
“When God made a basketball player,” said an admiring Johnson later, “He made Chris Mullin. He’s definitely on my all-respect team now.
“We just have to keep playing. If they keep hitting this way, we’ll probably be at home, watching.”
Only partially hidden by the gun smoke was the duel of wits between the Lakers’ Mike Dunleavy and his old mentor, Warrior Coach Don Nelson.
Nelson, burned for a ton of short shots in Game 1, continued to play the taller Lakers one on one and even went smaller. He used one lineup of four guards plus 6-foot-7 Rod Higgins. Crenshaw High sends out bigger teams than that.
Trying to counter Warrior quickness, Dunleavy went the whole fourth quarter with rookie Elden Campbell, but it backfired.
Campbell made several big plays early but committed two costly fouls at the end of the game.
With the Lakers ahead, 124-120, in the closing seconds, Campbell fouled Higgins, who was scoring on a rebound. Higgins went to the line with 28 seconds left and cut the Lakers’ lead to 124-123.
At the other end, James Worthy missed a 17-footer. Mario Elie rebounded with three seconds left, but Campbell was called for fouling him, too.
Elie made two free throws to put the Warriors ahead.
“The two fouls that occurred on Elden, well, you’ve got to take your chances,” Dunleavy said.
“I would not change the Elden Campbell situation. If I had to do it again, I’d play Elden. He played extremely well. Defensively, he was doing the job challenging shots. He was intimidating. He was quick enough to play penetration, stop their smalls.”
Campbell made all three of his shots and took six rebounds in the fourth quarter.
But he reached in twice too often, and now the Lakers face Games 3 and 4 in Oakland Friday and Sunday, having lost the home-court advantage.
The Warriors’ turnaround began with Mullin, who suffered his sprained right knee last Friday on a hard foul by San Antonio’s David Wingate. He couldn’t practice between then and Wednesday, only moving carefully at drills and shooting.
Nelson said he expected an 80% Mullin, but he got a bonus.
“That was the best shooting performance I’ve ever seen in a big game,” Nelson said. “I’ve been around 51 years. . . . Unbelievable.”
The compliment was relayed to the low-key Mullin, who was asked what he had to say to that.
“Thank you,” Mullin said.
Under pleading, Mullin said all this came as a surprise to him, too.
“When I came out, I didn’t want to think about anything but playing the game,” Mullin said. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do that. When my knee didn’t bother me, it took a lot of burden off my shoulders.”
And put it on the Lakers.
The Lakers led, 67-58, at the half but saw the Warriors go from hot to molten. Mullin scored 17 points in the third quarter, 10 in the last 1:16, wiping out the deficit and putting the Lakers up to their necks in alligators.
They appeared to fight the Warriors off in the stretch, Sam Perkins twice hitting 20-footers to put the Lakers ahead.
With 39 seconds left, Johnson made two free throws, his 43rd and 44th points, putting the Lakers ahead, 124-120.
The Lilliputians were just warming up for their boffo last act.
The Lakers had a last chance, but their inbounds play went awry. The Warriors double-teamed Johnson. Worthy’s desperate pass for a secondary target was tipped away by Higgins.
All in all, it was fast-paced and exciting.
“This is what it’s all about, right here,” said an enthusiastic Johnson. “Man, what do you want? If I’m going to be in a series, I want to be in one just like this.”
It was also a Laker loss. They’ll see 20-footers in their sleep, provided they sleep.
WARRIOR MAGIC: Chris Mullin’s knee responds and so does he with 41 points. C4