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Times Staff Writer


Highlight reel: In the days since Game 1, Portland Coach Maurice Cheeks talked at length about getting better shots, showing more patience with the ball and playing tighter defense on the Laker guards. So what happens? The Trail Blazers were impatient and only occasionally shadowed Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher with any determination as they moved up the court. So far, listening to their coach and shooting do not appear to be Trail Blazer strengths.

Not in the box score: What possible reason could there be for the Trail Blazers’ reluctance to follow Cheeks’ game plan? Oh yeah, that has been their method of operation for years.

Winning number: The Lakers led by as many as 12 points.

Wrong numbers: The Trail Blazers made six of 22 shots (27.3%) and Rasheed Wallace missed all six of his attempts, bad omens for starters for a team in desperate need of positive developments.


Leading scorers: Lakers--Bryant, Fisher 7; Trail Blazers--Bonzi Wells 6, Dale Davis 4.

Leading rebounders: Lakers--Samaki Walker 8, Shaquille O’Neal 5; Trail Blazers--Davis 5, Scottie Pippen 3.




Highlight reel: The Trail Blazers continued to brick their way toward another early playoff elimination, missing 15 of 22 shots. They played well enough defensively to put themselves into the game, but they couldn’t seem to make a shot outside of a few feet. Meanwhile, the Lakers were making 21 of 42 (50%) by halftime and were threatening to turn Game 2 into a runaway. Wallace finally made a basket, but he scored only eight points in the half on four-for-13 shooting.

Not in the box score: Ruben Patterson, self-proclaimed Kobe-stopper, spiked the ball in anger after committing a needless foul in the final moments of the quarter. Fisher made two free throws, giving the Lakers a 14-point lead at the break. Nice way to end another poor half.

Winning number: Bryant made three of six shots, a sign that he’s picking his spots against Patterson.

Wrong number: The Trail Blazers also can’t seem to make free throws, hitting only five of eight.

Leading scorers: Lakers--Bryant 7, Fisher, Devean George 5; Trail Blazers--Wallace 8, Wells 4.


Leading rebounders: Lakers--O’Neal 4, George 3; Trail Blazers--Wallace 3, Derek Anderson 2.




Highlight reel: Tick, tick, tick. You knew it was only a matter of time before the Trail Blazers lost their cool. It happened, as if on cue, when Davis got angry after he was called for a foul. Davis spied the bouncing basketball and booted it into the stands, drawing his second technical foul of the quarter and earning an early trip to the locker room. Davis also left his teammates without their starting center. Wallace and Shawn Kemp had to guard O’Neal for the final 16:12. Remember Game 2 last year when the Trail Blazers drew five technical fouls in the first quarter?

Not in the box score: Why not a 20-point Laker lead by now? The Lakers seemed to be playing only well enough to frustrate the Trail Blazers, which isn’t all that difficult, come to think of it.

Winning numbers: L.A.’s Kings 1, Colorado 0 in overtime. Good morning, Avalanche.

Wrong numbers: A 6-foot-11, 225-pound guy (Wallace) cannot defend a 7-1, 335-pound dude (O’Neal). It’s the law of the court.

Leading scorers: Lakers--O’Neal 13, Bryant 6; Trail Blazers--Wallace 13, Pippen 7.

Leading rebounders: Lakers--O’Neal 4, Robert Horry 2; Trail Blazers--Wallace 5, Pippen, Davis 2.




Highlight reel: Horry blocked Wallace’s layup, sending Bryant and O’Neal off on a break with only Pippen back for the Trail Blazers. O’Neal, streaking toward the basket, accepted a pass from Bryant on the left wing and soared over Pippen to deliver a thunderous left-handed dunk. It gave the Lakers an 87-67 lead with 8:30 remaining. Game over? Not so fast, the Trail Blazers would cut the Laker lead to 98-92 before running out of gas in the final moments. Bring on San Antonio in the next round. Or is it Seattle? Or Utah? Or Sacramento? Whatever. It doesn’t seem to matter. The Lakers keep finding ways to win.


Not in the box score: A calm, cool and collected group of Trail Blazers. At this rate, Game 3 on Sunday will mark the final time this explosive group of personalities will be together. Look for an overdue overhaul this off-season in Portland.

Winning numbers: Bryant had only 19 points, but O’Neal scored 31.

Wrong numbers: The Trail Blazers failed to shoot better than 40% for the second game in a row.

Leading scorers: Lakers--O’Neal 8, Fisher, Rick Fox, 4; Trail Blazers--Pippen, Wallace 10.

Leading rebounders: Lakers--Bryant 4, Fox 3; Trail Blazers--Pippen 4.