Lakers Rally to Beat the Slumping Celtics : Pro basketball: Divac scores a key late basket as Boston’s losing streak reaches 12 games, 100-97.
The Lakers and Boston Celtics, linked through glory days and now the gory days, stayed close to each other again Sunday night at the Forum, proving that misery loves company.
Laker Coach Randy Pfund was so intent upon reminding his players of what once was that he showed a three-minute tape before the game of highlights from the storied rivalry during the ‘80s. Then he got one for the early ‘90s when Vlade Divac and Sedale Threatt led a fourth-quarter rally that produced a 100-97 victory before 13,063 and sent the Celtics to their 12th consecutive defeat.
“I know this rivalry is well-remembered from the days when we played the Celtics for the world championships,” Pfund said. “But for me, the last three minutes, it didn’t make a difference. It was a close game, they wanted to win and we wanted to win. . . . They were still in green and we were still in gold.”
If this wasn’t one for the ages, it was at least one for this season.
The Lakers, looking to build some momentum before starting a four-game trip that includes a stop in Boston, trailed, 95-90, with 2 1/2 minutes to go. Consecutive baskets by Elden Campbell, Divac and Threatt, the latter an off-balance 18-footer with two seconds left on the shot clock and 33 on the game clock, then gave them a 96-95 lead. Sherman Douglas, left wide open after a blown defensive assignment on a pick and roll, scored from the left side with 23 seconds remaining to put the Celtics back on top.
The Lakers called a timeout. The clock was down to 6.2 seconds when Boston, with a foul to give, fouled Threatt. The Lakers called another time out, their last. James Worthy got the ball into Divac a few feet behind the top of the three-point line. Knowing that Divac had been scoring from the outside, Robert Parish came out to defend.
“Chief played the pressure on me and I had the opportunity to drive,” Divac said. “It was in my mind to go to the basket.”
So he did.
“I saw the open paint,” Divac said. “It was in my mind, ‘C’mon, Vlade, go strong to the basket.’ ”
Divac started right and went right. When he got close to the basket, Ed Pinckney stepped up to block his path and even made contact. But Divac, twisting slightly, banked in the four-foot shot with 2.5 seconds left. He didn’t get the foul, having to settle for what became the winning basket.
The Celtics, who shot 56.2% but committed 24 turnovers that led to 27 Laker points, had two chances at the finish. The first ended when Threatt intercepted Rick Fox’s entry pass from the sidelined intended for Dee Brown underneath, was fouled immediately and made both free throws with 1.2 seconds to go for a 100-97 lead. The second, when they needed a three-point play to send the game into overtime, was turned back when George Lynch knocked away another pass intended for Brown.
“It was a good win,” Pfund said. “It was one we really wanted to get before going out on the road trip. There have been different times during the year when we’ve got to step up and make big plays. We’ve done it before, and we did it tonight.”
Especially Divac, who had a season-high 28 points along with 13 rebounds, and Threatt, who played 44 minutes and had 26 points. Threatt is averaging 23 points and shooting 56.9% while starting the last three games.
Dan Schayes, acquired Thursday from Milwaukee for a conditional second-round draft choice, was in uniform, but did not play. “It was so out of the blue,” he said of the trade. “My first reaction was to try and figure what the angle was. The Lakers had not shown interest in me in the past, and I knew they were rebuilding like we were in Milwaukee. That was the initial question--the why. Aside from that, I was excited.” Schayes, who will wear No. 26, said the Lakers told him that the trade was made primarily for salary-cap purposes. Without the deal, the $1.75-million slot that once belonged to A.C. Green would have expired June 30. Now it goes to June 30, 1995.
Amid all the talk of the Lakers being a young team, they also have a wealth of experience. A contradiction? Not really; the majority of the minutes goes toward youth. Consider that Sam Bowie is in his ninth season, Sedale Threatt in his 11th, James Worthy in his 12th, Kurt Rambis and Schayes in their 13th and James Edwards in his 17th.