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There’s a New Sheriff in Town

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Shaquille O’Neal made a flashy pass to Devean George that led to a dunk on Thursday night, then looked into the stands at Staples Center, found a familiar face, pointed and laughed.

“He’s the chief of police in Baton Rouge,” O’Neal said. “His name is Bud. He’s going to help me run for sheriff when I come down, hopefully.”

Bud, apparently, is big on assists.

“Because when I was at LSU, he was a big supporter of mine,” O’Neal said, “and I used to do that at LSU. It was just bringing back memories.”

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O’Neal, who often wears a law enforcement badge on a chain beneath his shirt, hopes to become a sheriff when he retires from basketball.

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The Lakers had a light day Friday. Today’s schedule includes a midday practice and flight to Portland for Sunday’s Game 3. Regardless of the outcome, they will return to Los Angeles after the game.

Predictably, the mood was cheery, and it appeared something in Friday’s film had the Lakers amused. By the time they reached the court, a few Lakers were impersonating Dale Davis’ gruff third-quarter departure, his shoulders rolled forward, chest sucked in, jaw jutted.

Rick Fox nailed the Davis look with his shirt off and shorts dropped to plumber’s depth, to hysterical laughter.

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Kobe Bryant has had an odd two games against the Trail Blazers, playing well but not shooting well.

He has made only 15 of 49 field-goal attempts, and nine of 42 (28.1%) since starting the series with six field goals in seven attempts.

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Still, he has been a tough, active defender, leading the team in steals, and has found open teammates on offense.

“He’s had good ball movement to people, he’s getting a lot of things done right,” Coach Phil Jackson said Friday. “He’s fine. But I know he’s determined to play a good game on Sunday.”

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As strong as O’Neal was in Games 1 and 2, Jackson said he’s hoping for more.

“He was active to get the ball on the boards,” he said. “I thought he was more active on the offensive zone. I want him--I need him--to run the court better. We need him to get back on defense a little bit quicker and stay active at the defensive end and help.”

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In his last 11 games, O’Neal has made 69% of his free-throw attempts. The Lakers, the worst free-throw shooting team in the league during the regular season, have made 53 of 68 free throws, or 78%, in the first two postseason games.... The Lakers have won 17 consecutive games at Staples Center. They’ve lost eight of 12 on the road.... Derek Fisher was nine for 10 from the free-throw line in Game 2, both career highs.... The Trail Blazers have shot 38.3% despite vast improvement from Scottie Pippen. He shot 26.8% in four regular-season games against the Lakers and has made 12 of 24 attempts in two playoff games. Damon Stoudamire is two for 15.

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