Lakers Throw Ceballos (50) to the Wolves : Pro basketball: Forward has a career night in 108-95 victory over Minnesota.


He had scored 50 points before. Of course, he was sleeping.

“Everybody gets 50 in their dreams,” Cedric Ceballos said.

Tuesday night, Ceballos got it in reality, becoming the first Laker since Gail Goodrich in March of 1975 to reach that plateau as the Lakers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 108-95, before 11,101 at the Forum.

He got it the hard way, too, with the Timberwolves keying on him the final several minutes, obviously not wanting the onslaught to come at their expense. No such luck. Ceballos made 12 of 18 shots and scored 18 of the 50 points in the fourth quarter in what became the second-highest output in the NBA this season, behind only the 53 by Philadelphia’s Willie Burton.

Laker teammates delivered several key passes, but offered more in other areas. When Minnesota called timeout with 2:23 left, just as Ceballos had tired and was still four points shy of the goal, they shouted “50! 50!” at him in the huddle. Tony Smith told him not to come back in the locker room if he didn’t get it.


“That’s when my adrenaline rose to the top of the Forum,” said Ceballos, whose previous career high was 40, accomplished three times. “My hands started shaking a little bit. I really started concentrating on what I was doing instead of just playing.”

The Lakers tried getting him the ball every time. The Timberwolves tried to deny. Once, Ceballos got the ball knocked away while driving to the basket. The next time, his jumper hit the front of the rim. The next time, three defenders ran at him when he got the ball on the left post.

Finally, he got Point 47 on a free throw with 48 seconds left. The crowd rose every time the Lakers went back on offense, and they booed when Antonio Harvey took a wide open free-throw-line jumper with 20 seconds left.

Ceballos had one last chance to reach 50, when the Lakers got the ball back with 13.6 seconds left. The crowd rose. Ceballos was exhausted when he got the ball behind the three-point line on the left side, with a defender, Pat Durham, in front of him.

Ceballos went up. Durham didn’t.

“I didn’t believe it was going to go in,” Laker guard Nick Van Exel said.

It did. Direct hit, with 5.7 seconds left.

“I don’t know how I made that shot,” he said. “I don’t. Durham was so on me, I don’t even know how I got it off.

“Someone was looking out for me. It went in. It was a fitting ending.”

Said Elden Campbell, who had 21 points as the Lakers won for the fourth time in five games: “It’s really fun. I’ve played with guys who have scored 50. Tonight, it was like I scored 50.”


It wasn’t only the fourth quarter either--Ceballos went four of eight in the first quarter, five of five in the second and four of six in the third, capping that period with the second of three three-point baskets.

In the end, a game after recording a season-low 11 points at San Antonio on five-of-18 shooting, he had made 21 of 31 shots, added nine rebounds and two blocks, and played a career-high 46 minutes. He played the entire fourth quarter, after which Coach Del Harris saw Minnesota assistant Mike Schuler in the hallway by the Laker locker room and apologized if the Timberwolves felt the Lakers were trying to show them up. No problem, Schuler said, they understood.

“I was going to take him out,” Harris said. “But the players said, ‘Leave him in, let him get the 50,’ and I think maybe the Minnesota coach (Bill Blair) maybe didn’t like it. But on the other hand, I’m sure there will be a night when he’ll have to choose between me and his player and I’m sure he’ll take his player every time.”

Ceballos and Minnesota’s Isaiah Rider dueled for three quarters. They each had 32 points as the Lakers held an 86-82 lead. Rider finished with a career-high 35, but the Lakers pulled away and the only suspense was whether Ceballos would reach 50.

* BAD SHOTS: Bill Fitch criticizes the Clippers’ shot selection after a 110-79 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics. C2

Lakers On-Line

The TimesLink on-line service has player bios, team history, the ’94 season schedule and team notes supplied by the Lakers, as well as a collection of Times feature stories. Sign on and “jump” to keyword “Lakers.”


Details on Times electronic services, A12